Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao, the Chief Public Relations Officer to Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrashekhar Rao, raised a serious question: Whether the Centre helped the states? Jwala writes at least one article every day. The speed of this author is amazing. On 9th March, 2023, the CM, KCR has released the book “Genesis and Evolution of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS)”.
Juloori Gouri Shankar, the president of Telangana Sahitya Academy, in his preface, congratulated the author Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao. “This book is a thought-provoking interpretation of the need, concept and evolution of BRS(Bharata Rashtra Samiti), and in the process, makes the reader to deeply understand the contemporary political, economic and social scenario prevailing in the country. The articles in the book give a clue to the reader to think as to how he/she can become a part of the proposed qualitative change and contribute his or her strength,” said Gouri Shankar.
The author, in his article “Telangana asserts its Rights in federal spirit”, made an important point. If we lose the spirit of federalism, we will lose the Constitutional support for all the states. There is no nation without the states. The nation constitutes of all the states. Even while each state is important, every state has to be dealt in a very sensitive manner depending on its needs, resources and aspirations.
We fought against injustices
The party at the Centre now is following the path of damaging the federal spirit. Author rightly explained:
“In a vibrant and matured democracy like ours, the Centre should allow the State’s to take a call. The situation now prevailing in the country is vastly different from that of 1947 when the country attained independence. We have made our Constitution 70 years ago. Now there is an increase in population, more awareness and more opportunities. People are demanding more and more. If we want our country to progress and move forward, leave the reservations issue to the respective states. When we fought against injustices and discrimination meted out to Telangana everyone supported us. Unity in diversity is our principle. Decisions should be taken accordingly or else there will be clashes and movements.”
Jwala said “that in India, states have a major role to play and realizing this aspect, the Constitution has delegated more powers and funds to the states. In place of the earlier Planning Commission an organization called NITI Ayog consisting of all the Chief Ministers of all the states with Prime Minister as its Chairman has come into existence, referred (to) as Team India. With Prime Minister as Chairman and CMs as members, all states together need to plan the development of country and the states’ development as well. In a federal structure like the one in India, states shall have a major role to play.”
Disincentivizing growing states is not a healthy practice
In “Protecting federal autonomy safeguard interests of states” the author emphased the need for federal autonomy. He said: “It is time that the Finance Commission (FC) thought of leveraging the economy and changed its role in such a way that its functioning is not a mere routine affair. Despite different governments at the national and State level since independence, there has not been a qualitative change in the approach of FC. The broad fiscal policy decisions remain with the Government of India. Whatever they are supposed to devolve, they have, instead, been centralized. The growth of the state should be considered as the growth of country.”
In addition to the Constitutional provisions, to bridge the fiscal gap between the Centre and the States as well as ways and means of sharing resources between the Union and States, the Finance Commission is expected to serve as an institutional framework to facilitate Centre-State Transfers, the author explained. The mandate of the present Finance Commission as defined in the ToR covers to recommend a fiscal consolidation roadmap for sound fiscal management; assess the impact of Goods and Service Tax (GST) on finances of the Centre and States; review the need for revenue deficit grants to states; review the need to increase in tax devolution of the 14th Finance Commission; review conditions on state borrowings; providing performance-based incentives to states etc. among others. What is of particular concern is that the 15th Commission is tasked to look into the impact of higher tax devolution recommended by the 14th Finance Commission. But the question is whether the Centre helped the states?
Jwala has emphasised the alternative national agenda, in his articles titled “Strengthening Cooperative Federalism, KCR’s Alternative National Agenda”, and “NITI Aayog has failed Cooperative Federalism”. He also explained how “Perennial injustice to TS under Modi rule” has been done suggesting that the Centre should try to reverse the trend. And finally he author reminded the nation, ‘it’s time for resurgence of secular, democratic forces”.
Ultimately, Jwala narrates the story of his book vividly. The author has updated the book by including his latest articles published in January 2023.
Chief Minister, KCR, argues Jwala, ‘strongly felt that the methods adopted by Modi’s BJP government as well as its ‘inefficient rule’ and ‘perilous policies,’ have become obstacles and threat to national integrity and development. KCR expressed serious concern over the situation in the country that is deteriorating by the day due to the wrong policies adopted by the NDA government. He was referring to the attempts of Centre to handover people’s hard-earned savings to its friendly corporate.’ On 5th Feb, KCR concluded his address at the public meeting saying :‘Dharmasya Vijayosthu, Adharmasya Nashosthu, Pranishu Sadbavanasthu, Visvasya Kalyanamasthu’, meaning ‘Let righteousness flourish, Let injustice perish, Let the beings be right spirited and Let the universe thrive in bliss.” This was narrated by the author in the last article published on 12.2.2023”.
Prof. Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu,
Formal Central Information Commissioner, Dean, School of Law, Mahindra University, Hyderabad.