Two day International Conference on Cooperative Federalism concludes today

Business standard, January 21, 2016

The two day International Conference on Cooperative Federalism: National Perspectives and International Experience” concluded here today. The conference provided a platform to identify the best practices from other countries and come out with recommendations including changes in the institutional mechanisms to foster cooperative federalism in the Indian context. This was the first conference in the country where the subject of cooperative federalism was discussed at the international level. In addition to the senior policy makers and Government officials from Central and State governments, academics and practitioners and thinks tanks in India and international experts from Australia, Ethiopia, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa and Canada also participated in the Conference.

While delivering his valedictory address, Shri Arvind Panagariya, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog said that the decision of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to replace the Planning Commission by NITI Aayog is a landmark decision and a milestone. He said that under the PRAGATI initiative of the Prime Minister, regular meetings are held with State Chief Ministers and Chief Secretaries of the states via video conferencing and the progress made on various projects specially infrastructure projects is discussed. These discussions lead to the progress on these projects, he added. He said that after the first meeting of Governing Council of NITI Aayog held on 8th February, 2015, three sub-groups of the CMs were formed to appraise Centre on three issues namely centrally sponsored schemes, skill development and Swachh Bharat. On all three of these, the reports have been submitted, he added. The states have now power of decision making, he said. As we move forward, the states will be the masters of their fate, he said. He also said that different states have different priorities and this should be kept in mind while making schemes.

Speaking on competitive federalism, Shri Arvind Panagariya said that NITI Aayog is playing a role in this direction and particularly in the area of ease of doing business. He also said that survey of entrepreneurs is being done to ascertain the areas where entrepreneurs see the improvement has been made or not. He also said that Central government is welcoming the states who want to make changes in their laws. He also said that a model law on land leasing is being framed with the discussions with the states. We now need tenancy laws from owner as well as tenants point of view, he added.

Ms Naini Jayaseelan, Secretary, Inter State Council said that this is the first time that such conference is being held. She also said that for the first time a separate chapter has been devoted to cooperative federalism in the 14th Finance Commission. She said that this conference has provided a platform to understand various practices from the international experts that can be replicated in the Indian context and can help in the maximisation of common good. She said that the recommendations from this conference will be presented before the Prime Minister at the Conference to be held in March this year.

Shri Arun Maira, former Member, Planning Commission, Shri S. Narayan, former Union Finance Secretary, Shri G K Pillai, former Union Home Secretary, Shri Navneet Wasan, former DG, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and National Investigation Agency, Shri Nitin Desai, Chairman, Institute of Economic Growth, shared their views on the different sessions chaired by them on various themes including Institutions, mechanisms and processes to facilitate Cooperative Federalism, Fiscal Federalism with a focus on Institutional and Legal Mechanisms and on key social sectors namely Health and Education and Horizontal and Vertical cooperation on Internal Security and Crime and Green Federalism.

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