BJP-ruled states to deport illegal migrants; re-enforce cow slaughter ban
By Sunita Govind
A day-long conference of Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states in New Delhi on December 12 decided in principle to adopt Value Added Tax (VAT), deport illegal migrants under the Foreigners Act and re-enforce the ban on cow slaughter in the wake of the recent Supreme Court judgments.
Expressing serious concern at the ?rapidly growing challenge? of Naxalism, the Chief Ministers also decided to seek a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ?draw his attention to seriousness of the problem and seek his support?.
The conclave was attended among others by the new Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and two Ministers from Orissa Bishwabhushan Harichandan, Minister for Law, Industry and Rural Development and Man Mohan Samal, Revenue Minister besides state party presidents and senior national leaders also took part in the deliberations.
In his inaugural address, party President L.K. Advani expressed happiness that the states under BJP rule and those in which it is a partner of ruling coalitions have made very impressive strides in recent years which is reflected in a dramatic improvement in the climate of investment in those states.
In this regard, he referred to a news-item that said in the first six months of the current financial year, 80 per cent of industrial investment in the country has been made in Gujarat.
?We are aware of the massive investment proposals taking shape in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa for steel production. All our states have shown maturity and wisdom in managing their finances. They have to a significant extent, obliterated the deficits they inherited from the previous governments. At the same time, they have ensured that adequate outlays are provided for improvement in basic facilities, including power, roads and water supply?, he said.
Shri Advani took the opportunity to mount a scathing attack on the UPA alliance at the Centre which, he said, is in a ?state of disarray?. ?It is an uneasy alliance, with multiple power centres, in which jurisdictional definitions are hazy. That is reflected in the poor quality of governance, slippage in the security situation and weakening of the development thrust?, he said.
BJP Chief Ministers? Conclave in Delhi
Pointing out that the NDA government in its six years in office provided a strong fillip to reforms and took massive initiatives for the development of modern infrastructure, he said: ?It is unfortunate that under the UPA Government, which suffers from an overload of the Leftists, reforms have slowed down and outlays for the development of infrastructure and for eradication of poverty have been severely slashed.?
?The Congress has always been comfortable with economic staticity and now that problem is compounded by its combination with the Left'sarchaic and outdated thinking?, he said.
The BJP President also emphasised the need to have cordial relations between the state governments and the state party units as the organisation is in constant touch with the masses.
In his address, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee reminded the Chief Ministers of the commitments the party had made to the people and focussed on the accountability of the state administrations. He asked them to set up a very strong mechanism at various levels within the state administrations to receive people'scomplaints and grievances and to ensure their redressal. The mechanism should also ensure that replies are sent to all complaints, he insisted.
Expressing concern at the reduction in outlays on various poverty-alleviation programmes by the UPA government, the Chief Ministers decided to send a detailed account of all schemes to the party headquarters. They will also have them analysed so that unduly fragmented schemes may be consolidated.
Taking note of the landmark Supreme Court verdict upholding the Gujarat law that imposed a blanket ban on slaughter of cows and bulls and bullocks, irrespective of their age, the conclave decided that the BJP-ruled states will review their existing legislation on the subject and re-enforce it to the extent now permitted by the Supreme Court.
Blaming the soft attitude of the UPA government for the rapidly growing challenge of Naxalism, the Chief Ministers expressed concern that the Naxalite activities now extend over one-fourth of India'sterritory and are unified under one party with a coordinating arrangement with the Maoists in Nepal.
It was emphasised that given the gigantic size of the problem, it can only be solved by the concerted action of the Central and State governments.
The conference expressed dissatisfaction at the Centre'sweak response to the quashing of the IMDT Act by the Supreme Court and decided that in the BJP-ruled states an action will be taken in accordance with the Foreigners Act to identify and deport illegal migrants.
Undertaking an exhaustive review on the issue of VAT, the conference decided in principle that the party-ruled states will adopt VAT. However, former Finance Minister and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha told reporters that its implementation of the tax would depend on the roadmap for phasing out the Central Sales Tax (CST), the compensation package and other things.
Due care will be taken to fully establish the tax information network and to educate not only the officials but also the trading community and the public. It was decided that the Finance Ministers of the BJP-ruled states will meet on December 15 and convey their views to the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers on VAT on December 16. The Central government was also requested to provide adequate fiscal compensation to states with primary resources such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, which will suffer revenue loss on account of reduction/abolition of CST.