‘States being reduced to glorified municipalities’

Chennai, April 16: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday accused the central government of bringing the states down to the level of glorified municipal corporations by restricting their operational magnitude, tightening finances and encroaching upon states’ powers.

Addressing at the annual conference of the chief ministers on internal security in New Delhi, Jayalalithaa said: “The leverage and operational magnitude of the states is sought to be kept under control by tightening finances.”

Copies of her speech were distributed to the media here.

“The constant attempts to reduce states to the level of glorified Municipal Corporations heavily dependent on the Centre for funds is a travesty of the federal nature of our existence. This attitude is disturbing and the implication of such exercises is not conducive to either state or national growth,” she said.

Coming down strongly on the central government for contravening the constitutional provisions on policing, Jayalalithaa said the union government encroaches on state powers by creating parallel authorities monitored from the centre or vicarious operations of state police powers through creation of centre-monitored caucuses within the states, as was envisaged in the Railway Protection Force, National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

“I am afraid there is an emerging pattern wherein the powers vested with the states are sought to be abrogated without the attendant responsibility, either by the passage of bills or issuance of notifications. Lack of consultation with the states and failure to take the states into confidence is a cogent commentary on the system of governance in the Centre,” she added.

Charging the central government with showing scant respect for constitutionally elected state governments, Jayalalithaa cited instances like the central government not permitting senior Indian Navy Officials and the Consul General of the US Consulate in Chennai to meet her.

Strongly resenting that the Tamil Nadu government was not kept in the loop about the joint naval exercise off the Tamil Nadu coast with the US nuclear powered warships, Jayalalithaa hoped the central government “will follow the principle of prior consultation with the state governments, whenever such important decisions are taken by the central government.”

Jayalalithaa said Tamil Nadu would examine the issues connected with separation of crime investigation from policing though such large-scale changes can be implemented only gradually.

Jayalalithaa made a pointed reference to the host of issues sought to be addressed by the conference – crime and criminal tracking network system, modernisation of the police force, border management, coastal security, preventing the circulation of fake Indian currency notes, strengthening the intelligence wings and separation of criminal investigation and law and order.

She said: “…conferences of this nature should address major problems confronting the nation and strive to find solutions for them. They should not be confined to an audit of the funds released to the states.”

IANS