Pushing for greater autonomy for States and protecting federalism, several Rajya Sabha MPs on Friday hit out at the Centre for what they termed was an encroachment on States’ rights and some demanded that the post of Governor be abolished.
MDMK leader Vaiko moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha seeking the return of subjects shifted to the Concurrent list from the State list, including education, and doing away with the post of the Governor. He said the residuary powers should be vested with the States, which should be empowered financially and given a corpus to “mitigate the sufferings of the people.”
“India being a multi-region and multi-linguistic nation with people of different hues and colours, decentralisation is the need of the hour,” he said.
During the discussion on Mr. Vaiko’s resolution, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said though he had sympathy with the spirit of the resolution, some aspects of it would be “detrimental to the national interest.”
He argued that the 42nd Constitutional Amendment, which was passed during the Emergency, had moved population control, forests, education and administration of justice to the Concurrent list from the State list. These items, he said, should remain in the Concurrent list, while he agreed with the demand for greater administrative powers and funds for States to deal with natural disasters.
Speaking in Bengali, Derek O’Brien of the All-India Trinamool Congress said while Governors are supposed to be appointed in consultation with the elected government of a State, today, they were being appointed like “branch managers of banks.” He said the situation in West Bengal and Maharashtra were “dangerous signs”, adding that some occupants of high offices were “making a mockery of their chairs.” Mr. O’Brien as well as AIADMK MP Vijila Sathyanath supported moving education to the State list.