Statement issued after the conclusion of theConclave of BJP Chief Ministers
The following statement is being issued at the conclusion of the conclave of the BJP Chief Ministers, which was held in New Delhi on August 18, 2012.
Context of the Conclave
Since the 2009 parliamentary elections when the Congress-led UPA came back to power at the Centre, the disclosures of corruption scandals have shocked the nation. The complex web of manipulations, so cleverly worked out by the Congress leadership, resulting in huge losses to the exchequer, has stunned the nation's conscience and pushed India up in the league table of corrupt nations.
Repeated discussions in Parliament, media reports and debates notwithstanding, big-ticket corruption cases flagged off even by the C&AG are still awaiting prosecution. Commonwealth Games, 2G Spectrum, Antrix-Devas, Aircel-Maxis all await a fair response from the government. Now an even bigger corruption scandal in coal allocation has also been exposed by C&AG. All these corruption scandals have tarnished India’s reputation globally.
Adding to the burden of the aam aadmi, already reeling under unprecedented price rise, the fast devaluing rupee, increasing joblessness, looming drought in many parts of the country, severe governance deficit, policy paralysis, and a collective mood of despair, is the lack of sensitivity of the government. Furthermore, the UPA’s wanton misuse of the institutions of governance continues unabated.
Not only our states but India as a whole, has suffered enormously on account of the wrong economic policies, inept governance and visionless leadership of the Congress led UPA government. The people of India are looking for a political alternative, which only the BJP-led NDA can provide.
It is in this context of gloom, despair and growing anger over the UPA’s misrule that the conclave of the BJP Chief Ministers was held. The conclave provides a strong ray of hope, based on the actual performance of BJP/NDA-led state governments, for an alternative at the Centre guided by our commitment to Good Governance and Antyodaya-oriented Development
How the UPA government has destroyed the economy
The last eight years under UPA I and UPA II have seen complete mismanagement of the Indian economy. As a result, the Indian economy, which in 2004 had attained the potential of breaking out into a structurally higher growth trajectory, is now losing the opportunity of pulling millions of Indians out of poverty and misery. Inflation is extremely high and has been so for many years depriving hundreds of millions of Indians of food security, with high interest rates choking both industrial growth and consumer spending. Similarly the volatility in the rupee, high current account deficit and a huge and uncontrolled fiscal deficit at the Centre have left the government powerless to deal with the fundamental problems facing the country.
The last eight years have witnessed no progress to make the Indian economy more efficient, flexible and resilient to global developments. In every sector, there has been drift, policy paralysis and outright mismanagement. Infrastructure projects are stuck, road building has come to a halt, the power sector is seeing massive blackouts, the aviation sector and Air India are bleeding, financial sector reforms are long pending, agricultural growth is stagnating nationally. And it would have been far worse if not for the spectacular agricultural growth that some of the BJP-governed states have achieved – both Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have achieved over 10% agriculture growth. Wheat production in MP has now almost equalled that of Haryana. Even Chhattisgarh’s growth rate has been impressive.
The mismanagement of the national economy has had a direct fallout on the State Governments’ ability to implement their various development and welfare schemes. Investments are slowing. State governments are required to spend more and more from their own revenues.
UPA’s attack on Federalism
The BJP believes in a Strong Centre and Strong States. India can become strong and progress in a balanced manner only if the Centre treats the States as its partners. The Congress however has no respect for federalism and treats States as subservient entities.
A bizarre situation is developing in the country today. Neither does the UPA govern at the Centre, nor does it allow State governments to do so in their respective states! Discriminatory and often vindictive attitude towards non-Congress governments, especially BJP/NDA-ruled states, has become endemic to the UPA’s style of governance. As a result, the government at the Centre is becoming a stumbling block to the various developmental and welfare programmes of the states. The states’ efforts to fulfil the promises and commitments made to their people are being stifled.
In this context of central government’s economic mismanagement, whatever little growth is emanating is due to good governance in states ruled by the BJP/NDA and some non-Congress parties. Therefore more emphasis needs to be given to decentralization of the Indian economy to encourage the raw shoots of growth that the state governments are nurturing. However, there has been creeping centralization when the need of the hour has been to encourage federalism, and taking governance closer to the people.
In this respect, there needs to be an overhaul of the whole federal structure with (i) a fairer sharing of the financial receipts between the centre and the states. Not only are the areas of direct state tax collections reducing but so is the percentage allocated to states from the national receipts. We need to de novo re-set the relationship between centre and states. A first step could be active discussion at the National Development Council, reactivation of the Inter-State Council (which has not been convened since 2006), implementation of the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission and the Poonchi Committee; (ii) we need to drastically reduce the many centrally sponsored schemes and give more flexibility to the states to design their own schemes, along with sufficient untied funds. The Congress party’s policy of “One size fits all” is certainly violative of the federal principle.
Fiscal recklessness by the Centre, fiscal discipline by State Governments
It is a matter of deep concern that at a time when more and more State governments – especially BJP/NDA-led governments -- have been scrupulously observing fiscal discipline as required by the FRBM Act, the UPA at the Centre has been behaving as if it is under no obligation to follow any fiscal prudence.
Despite severe constraints, our state governments have been having fiscal deficits of less than 3%, compared to the central government’s 5.9% last year. All of our states are also running a revenue surplus. In the 11th Plan period, GSDP growth in NDA states has been higher than the national average by almost a full per cent. GSDP growth of Gujarat, MP, Chhattisgarh and Bihar has crossed 10%! In addition, agricultural growth in BJP/NDA states has been considerably more than the national average.
All this proves that the BJP/NDA-ruled governments have shown themselves to be exemplars of Good Governance and prudent fiscal management.
Impact of UPA ‘s misrule on BJP/NDA ruled States
BJP/NDA governed states have suffered considerably due to UPA’s misgovernance and policy paralysis. Notwithstanding this, by following effective policies and implementing out of the box, innovative solutions, they have been able to deliver growth well above the national average while at the same time managing their finances prudently and improving the quality of the administrative machinery to continue to sustainably deliver superior solutions to the people. Projects being implemented in BJP/NDA states are frequently denied timely clearances by the centre, budgetary allocations due from central sources are withheld for flimsy reasons, and our states do not get their fair share of program allocations.
Antyodaya-focused Development achievements of BJP/NDA States
In spite of the discriminatory attitude of the UPA government, and in spite of the constraints posed by a slowing economy, BJP/NDA governed states have significant governance achievements. Many of our states have implemented unique schemes to benefit the common man. Gujarat has been able to provide 24/7 power throughout the state despite not having its own natural resources. It has done this by coming up with innovative solutions to reduce T&D losses and broad basing sources of generation including more than 600 MW of solar. In addition, through special policies targeted at farmers, Gujarat has been able to achieve more than 10% growth rate in agriculture against a national average of 3%. Karnataka has perfected the use of IT in areas such as land records and helping in revenue mobilization It has the highest Own Tax/GSDP ratio among all states. Chhattisgarh meanwhile has been able to achieve 6.3% agricultural growth and 8.4% gross growth despite most of the new industrial projects in the state being halted due to lack of central clearances. It also has the best-run PDS in the country, providing food security to the poor. Madhya Pradesh has distinguished itself by taking governance to the people through numerous schemes such as Antyodaya Mela, the Public Service Guarantee Act, Lok Kalyan Shivir and decentralized district planning. Bihar has been progressing rapidly on all fronts – law and order, road construction, national rural health mission, etc. Himachal Pradesh has won numerous national and international laurels for its work in environment protection. Its achievement in boosting horticulture production has been commendable. Punjab won a renewed mandate in the recent assembly elections on the strength of its developmental track record. Goa under the BJP government has stopped corruption scandals and environmental degradation due to illegal mining. Jharkhand’s landmark “rice-and-daal” meal at Rs. 5 has been a boon to the poor and tribals.
It is clear that the UPA has mismanaged the Indian economy for the last 8 years. The nation and our people cannot afford to suffer any more. The BJP/NDA states have demonstrated high governance standards. In this regard, the BJP demands the following :