New Delhi: A meeting between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the Planning Commission here today turned into an exchange of words on the development record.
The Commission questioned Gujarat's progress on social development indicators, despite high economic growth. Modi defended the state's model and accused the Centre of a 'big brotherly' attitude towards states, disregarding the federal structure. The meeting was to fix the state's plan size for 2013-14.
Modi attacked the alleged lack of coordination among central ministries as creating bottlenecks in the development of states. He also criticised the Centre's policies on coal and natural gas.
After more than two hours, the meet approved a plan size of Rs 59,000 crore, about 15.7 per cent higher than Gujarat got in 2012-13.
Officials said the Commission expressed concern over the child sex ratio in the state, the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate. It observed there had been improvement in the child sex ratio at the overall state level between 2001 and 2011 but with deterioration in about half the districts.
"Generally, it has been our view that Gujarat needs to bring its social sector performance up to the economic size, to have some special attention to this area," the Commission's deputy chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, told reporters after the meeting.
The Gujarat CM retorted that the state spent 42 per cent of its budget on the social sector. He also talked about Gujarat's growth story. "Gujarat has played a crucial and big role in the development of India. In terms of contribution and in terms of GDP, we are among the highest contributors," he added.
Modi was armed with a full audio-visual presentation. He alleged that opaque and irrational policies at the Centre on pricing and allocation of coal and natural gas had caused immense loss to national income, as about 5,000 Mw of installed power generation capacity lay unutilised in Gujarat alone.
The CM also alleged the Centre had failed to define an effective policy and funding assistance for coastal security. He was also critical of the Centre for slow processing of the state's claim of Rs 4,500 crore as compensation for a cut in the central sales tax rate.
Modi also accused the Centre of making schemes which created a financial liability for the states. "The Centre follows a policy of 'I legislate, you implement', which is harmful for the country's federal structure," he said.