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Union home minister Rajnath Singh bats for greater cooperation between centre and the state

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday stressed the need for greater cooperation between central and the state governments so that any differences can be swiftly resolved.

Addressing the 12th meeting of the standing committee of the Inter-State Council, which discussed important issues like financial transfers from the Centre to the states, GST and maintenance of communal harmony, Mr Singh said that a number of steps have been initiated by the NDA government to promote cooperative federalism and “harmonious relations’’ between Centre and states.

Other Union ministers, including finance minister Arun Jaitley, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for social justice Thaawar Chand Gehlot, urban development minister Hardeep Puri and chief ministers of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Tripura also attended the meeting. States of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh were represented by their ministers.

The home minister said the standing committee of the Inter-State Council is being periodically convened to lend speed and purpose to the process of harmonising Centre-state relations.

He claimed that a meeting of the council, which was held in July 2016, happened after a gap of 10 years. Mr Singh said the council has helped resolve various issues between different states and Centre in the last two years. While 82 such issues were resolved in 2015, last year as many as 140 issues were sorted out.

The home minister also expressed satisfaction that the Inter-State Council and the Standing Committee have been revived after a gap of almost a decade.

Mr Singh informed the Committee that recommendations of the Standing Committee on Punchhi Commission’s report, which looked into Centre-State relations, would be discussed in detail in the days ahead and its recommendations would then be placed before the Inter-State Council, which is  headed by the Prime Minister.

The Punchhi Commission, headed by former Chief Justice of Supreme Court Madan Mohan Punchhi, submitted its report in 2010 containing 273 recommendations in seven volumes.

The Standing Committee of the Council has already discussed 69 recommendations related of the Punchhi Commission relating to the Constitutional provisions on various subjects such as the role of Governors, the Inter-State Council and , assent to bills passed by Legislative Assemblies.

Once finalised these would be forwarded to the Inter State Council for a final decision. In addition, representatives of 30 Union ministries and departments as well as seven state governments were also present to assist the Committee in its deliberations.

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