FEDERALISM AND CENTRE-STATE RELATIONS
A basic feature of the Constitution of India is the principle of federalism. Congress acknowledges that, over the last 5 years, this principle has been eroded to the detriment of the States.
Congress believes that a large country like India cannot be administered by the Central Government alone. In fact, in most matters concerning the daily lives of the people, it is the State Government that is close to the people and, in some matters, it is the Local Government (Municipality or Panchayat) that is even closer to the people.
- We will review the distribution of legislative fields in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution and build a consensus on transferring some legislative fields from List III (Concurrent List) to List II (State List).
- We will reduce the size of Ministries and Departments in the Central Government in such areas where sufficient capacity has been built by the State Governments.
- Congress promises to give primacy to State Governments in subjects such as school education, primary and secondary health care, child nutrition, drinking water, sanitation and distribution of electricity, and ensure that the Central Government plays a supportive role to State Governments.
- Congress promises to take forward the idea of the GST Council of Ministers and establish such Councils for Agriculture, Education and Healthcare.
- We will implement the recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and will urge the States to implement the recommendations of their respective State Finance Commissions.
- Congress, as the author of the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments, will prevail upon the States to implement those provisions in letter and spirit and devolve funds, functions and functionaries upon the Panchayats and Municipalities.
- We will work with State Governments to empower Panchayats and Municipalities through devolution of funds including a share of GST revenues. We will explore the possibility of direct central grants to Panchayats and Municipalities that was tried successfully in 1988-89 under the Government of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.
- Congress promises to revive the Backward Regions Grant Fund and the Integrated Action Plan that were implemented under UPA and achieved significant results.
- The States in the North East have a special place and there are special provisions in the Constitution. For the North Eastern States, the Congress promises to:
- Restore Special Category status to the North Eastern States;
- Withdraw the infamous Citizenship Amendment Bill, which caused widespread resentment;
- Enhance financial assistance to the Autonomous District Councils in acknowledgement of their importance to the North Eastern States.
- Congress will give Special Category status to Andhra Pradesh as promised by Dr. Manmohan Singh on 20 February 2014 in the Rajya Sabha.
- Congress promises full statehood to Puducherry.
- Congress promises to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991 to make it clear that the Lieutenant Governor shall act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers except in matters concerning the 3 reserved subjects.
- Congress promises a statutory Council each for the Union Territories of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli to deliberate and to advise the Lieutenant Governor.