Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, discussed in the backdrop of strong economic recovery post-Covid, help invigorate private investment, and push capital expenditure by states.
New Delhi: States are to get a whopping Rs 95,082 crore by November 22. Much against the sustained campaign by detractors that the lofty 'Cooperative Federalism' has been put on second fiddle, the Modi government has given a major push to the 'wishes and powers' of the states and held a special 'out of box' meeting to seek States' ideas in pushing growth forward.
"The context of the meeting held today (November 15) was to seek States' ideas in pushing growth forward, since in most of the issues such as investment, development and manufacturing, it is the States who do from the forefront, support from the Centre being there always," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The Minister held a virtual interaction with Chief Ministers and state Finance Ministers on November 15 to discuss measures that will build on the ongoing economic recovery, help invigorate private investment, and push capital expenditure by states.
She said states would get Rs 95,082 crore by November 22 – an exact 100 per cent jump of Rs 47,541 crore so that the state governments have 'more funds' for their expenditures.
"I have suggested to the Finance Secretary that on November 22, instead of the normal monthly installment of tax devolution amount of Rs 47,541 crore, I have asked to release another Rs 47,541 crore — a total of Rs 95,082 crore will be given to states on November 22," Ms Sitharaman told a press conference later.
Finance Secretary T V Somanathan had said earlier that the meeting was called in the backdrop of strong economic recovery post the two Covid waves.
Some Chief Ministers requested for increasing the states' capital expenditure. They said it would be helpful for them to get a part of the tax devolution. "I have directed the finance secretary to do this immediately," she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, both in his present position since 2014 and earlier as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, had always stressed the pro-active role of the states.
15 Chief Ministers, LG of J&K Manoj Sinha, deputy CMs of three states and Finance Ministers of several states participated in the deliberations.
Stating that there has been "robust growth", she said, "it's also a time where we are looking at ways in which we need to sustain the growth, take it as close as possible to a double digit growth for which the Centre and states have to work together".
Ms Sitharaman also said: "I must put it upfront that we have had very key ideas coming from states. There were also generic requests that were posed".
"One of the examples I would like to take is the way in which some of the states have given approvals for projects, they were looking for better dispute resolution mechanisms post the award of the contract, enhancing road connectivity."
Ms Sitharaman said some of the northeast states came up with specific suggestions for immediate job creation.
"It was a very useful session where clearly, the way in which we want to move forward is to ensure that the understanding that the states have of their way of wanting to move forward post the pandemic, with the people of India showing greater aspiration to want to come out of the pandemic," she said.
India on Monday allowed fully vaccinated arrivals from 99 countries- including the US, UK, UAE, Qatar, France and Germany to travel quarantine-free in the country.
The decision comes as the country allowed foreign tourists on non-charters. The centre had suspended tourist visas last March and resumed them from October 15 by allowing them in on charters.
Apart from a Covid negative report within 72 hours of departure to India, travellers from these 99 countries (called Category A) will also need to upload their fully vaccinated certificate on the Air Suvidha portal. The tourism sector is seen as one of the major sectors that will help economic recovery in a big way.