Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ‘underscored’ the opportunities unleashed by cooperative and competitive federalism for growth of States in the country.
While taking part at the India Economic Summit 2018 at Mumbai on Friday, Sonowal spoke on the topic ‘States as New Engines of Growth’ and stressed on the new impetus given by the present dispensation of the Centre for development of the states. The two-day Summit started today was organized by India Foundation in collaboration with Bombay Stock Exchange.
Chief Minister Sonowal in his speech said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed Northeast as astalakshmi of the country and introduced the eight states as the new engine of India’s growth, which gave development a new dimension in the region. He said that the State Government taking inspiration from the Prime Minister adopts zero tolerance against corruption to create favourable environment for.
“The States are India’s new engine of growth but this does not mean the Centre has no role. The new engines will be able to deliver growth only with the support and encouragement of the Central government. The Central Government has an important role in guiding the States in terms of policy, engagement with rest of the world and execution of big infrastructure projects pertaining to railways, national highways, telecom networks etc.”, the Chief Minister observed.
Further appreciating the role played by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a new dimension to cooperative and competitive federalism in the country, Sonowal said that this phenomenon encourages cooperation between Centre and States as well as promotes healthy competition among states to attract investment and develop innovation. He also said that a huge and diverse country like India cannot grow by one set of policy and programmes laid by the central government and as a result of which liberalization of the economy took place in the 90s. Sonowal also viewed that economic liberalization empowered not only individual entrepreneurs and companies, but also liberalized and empowered state governments and local governments.
“When the individual entrepreneurs and companies are free to make their investment decisions, the State Governments also become free to attract investment to their State. This encourages the State Governments to put their house in order, improve policies and infrastructure to attract investment”, Sonowal said making a reference to the gains made by Gujarat government by the “Vibrant Gujarat” summit over the years.
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The Chief Minister also highlighted the Act East Policy as an example of centre encouraging the states to engage with rest of the world in the interest of giving a new dimension to their growth narrative. “The Central Government envisions Northeast to be at the heart of its Act East policy and become centre of India’s interaction with ASEAN”, Sonowal said adding that he said increased interaction with ASEAN nations would bring investment, trade and tourism to the North-eastern States.
The Chief Minister also lauded the Centre in encouraging States with guidance and ranking on Ease of Doing Business. He also highlighted the dividends accrued by the State through the Advantage Assam – Global Investment Summit and said that recently announced Northeast Industrial Development Scheme, 2017 would further boost economic growth in the region.
The Chief Minister also spoke about several ambitious schemes launched by the State Government in sectors like health, education, agriculture and infrastructure. He said that initiatives like ‘Chief Minister Samagra Gramya Unnayan Yojana, Atal Amrit Abhiyan, providing free textbooks, setting up new medical colleges, universities etc. are aimed at increasing growth and also allowing the ordinary citizens to contribute to the nation while improving their own lot.
Sonowal also thanked the Prime Minister for giving the fiscal space to the States through increased devolution of 42 per cent of Central Tax receipts to the States under the 14th Finance Commission. He said that this has enabled States to take up new development schemes suited to their local conditions and requirements.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, while speaking on the occasion lavished high praise on the leadership of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He said that Chief Minister Sonowal has given a new boost to development in Assam with his initiatives within such a short period of time. Fadnavis also lauded the Chief Minister for successfully organizing the Global Investors Summit, which opened new opportunities for growth in the state.
Union Industry and Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha were also present in the summit.