Shiromani Akali President Sardar Sukhbir Singh Badal today lashed out at the Centre’s proposed move to further slash States’ share in the Divisible Pool of Revenue. Mr. Badal reiterated his party’s demand that the states’ share in this pool must be raised to 50% “at the very least.”

The Akali leader also called for a national initiative to protect the federal structure of the country.”Time has a come for a nationwide awareness and movement for securing greater fiscal autonomy for all states. This is the only long term solution to center’s growing hegemony, which in fact is working against our national interest. ”

He said that the Shiromani Akali Dal has always been a votary of more powers to the states and has made huge sacrifices for this cause. “Strong states mean a strong India, just as strong limbs mean a strong body. You cannot weaken legs and arms or heart and lungs and still claim that the body as a whole would remain strong. Those at the helm at the center need to understand this.”

Mr Badal also stressed the need for revisiting the formulae for the horizontal allocation of funds among various states.

“It is unfortunate that the federal structure of the country has been under constant attacks from successive governments at the center. Unfortunately, the present government is no exception. The states have already been reduced to the status of beggars at the center’s door. The latest reported move is only one more step to impoverish them further and to make them complete slaves before the center,” said Mr. Badal in a strongly worded statement here this afternoon.

The former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab further said that the Centre has been usurping the states’ resources by using the backdoor channels such as the subtle and frequent shifting of issues from the States’ to the Concurrent List. Further, the center has been taking a frequent resort to legislating on the Concurrent List to leave little breathing space for the states. All this has reduced the federal structure of the country to a mere joke.”

Mr. Badal scoffed at the reason being advanced to justify the latest move at reducing states’ share in the revenue pool. “Giving Covid19 as the reason for center’s increased liability is ridiculous. The real burden of dealing with the virus is upon the states as health is a state subject. The states have had to cope with immense additional stress on their health services because of this virus. If anyone needs more funds to deal with the virus, it is the states,” said Mr Badal.

The Akali leader said that the States share in this revenue is already meager considering how much they contribute to this revenue and how vast their liabilities and development needs are. “The States’ share must be increased to more than 50% .”EOM

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