Despite PM being son of soil, Centre biased towards Punjab: Badal
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CHIEF Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday again hit out at the Centre over what he termed was the Union government's bias in disbursement of grants to the state, despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, "a son of the soil", being at the helm of affairs.
"The unending saga of discrimination and step motherly treatment being meted out to Punjab and its peasantry is a deliberate attempt to demoralise the state," Badal said while addressing the media after presiding over a sports tournament here on Monday. The chief minister categorically stated that the Centre's "discrimination" in handing over grants had hurt the state's development.
Badal said the Union government frames policies with riders to deliberately exclude Punjab from the ambit of central schemes. "The apathy of the Union government towards Punjab could be well judged from the fact that the industry of the state has been ruined due to the incentives given to our neighbouring states and now due to the exorbitant hike in agricultural inputs, Punjab farmers are at the crossroads," he said.
The 85-year-old SAD patriarch said the hardworking and resilient farmers of the state had ensured food security for the country "but due to the Centre's indifferent attitude, they are now reeling under a debt of Rs 32,000 crore."
He further emphasised on the need to revise the formula for devolution of central funds by stating that present devolution criteria does not meet the states' developmental needs. Badal demanded that the states get a 50 per cent share ( from the current 32 per cent) in taxes collected from them as this would decrease their dependence on the Centre for grants. Allocation of funds should be made on the sole criteria of growth and not merely on the whims and fancies of Centre, he said.