Statehood for Puducherry - Highlights of the press briefing by Shri V. Narayanasamy, Shri A. Namachivayam and Shri Sanjay Dutt in Parliament House
ALL INDIA CONGRESS COMMITTEE
24, AKBAR ROAD, NEW DELHI
Highlights of the Press Briefing: 04 January, 2019
Shri V. Narayanasamy, CM Puducherry; Shri A. Namachivayam, PCC President Puducherry and Shri Sanjay Dutt, Secretary, AICC addressed the media at Parliament House.
Shri Narayanasamy said- The Press conference is about the demand of statehood for Puducherry. The background of Puducherry State, how it evolved, are should be traced from 1954. We did not get independence in 1947. Though the rest of the country except Goa was under British rule, Puducherry was under French rule. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted that Puducherry should be merged with the Indian Union and there was an agreement signed between the French Government and our Government for transfer of the Union Territory of Puducherry to the Union of India. At the time, the nodal Ministry was External Affairs Ministry in 1954. At that time we had only representative Assembly and not an elected legislature. In 1963, The Union Territories Act was passed by the Parliament and the Assembly came into being. There are 29 States, another 5 Union Territories; Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Puducherry, are Union Territories with a legislature. Even among the two, Article 239; 239 (A) and 240 along with Union Territories Act applies to Puducherry. As far as Capital Territory of Delhi, there is a separate legislation passed in the Parliament and they have got certain powers under Article 239 (AA), for Puducherry 239 (A) for them it’s 239 (AA). The difference between these two Union territories, Union Territory of Puducherry has got powers relating to Land, Law and Order, Finance and Services. These are within the domain of the State Government but as far as Delhi is concerned, it is with the Government of India. Under Article 239 (AA), it has been defined there.
There was a demand from the people of Puducherry, the political parties of Puducherry, that Puducherry should be given statehood. The demand was going on for the last 20 years; the reason being, though we have got elected Government by the will of the people, the elected Government is not able to implement the welfare programmes, infrastructure development, mobilization of revenue and the overall development of the State because the Lt. Governor comes in between. In those days, the interference by the Lt. Governor was very minimal. They were not interfering in the day to day affairs. Though resolutions were passed for full Statehood but it was not pursued very vigorously at that time.
Union Territory of Puducherry, we have only limited resources. We have commercial tax, excise, the revenue mobilization from the Transport and Registration. We do not have minerals, but Tourism is one of the potential areas for Puducherry State. Therefore, we wanted to develop the State. Though land is within the purview of the State Government of Union Territory of Puducherry, the Home Ministry comes in between. They are not allowing us to develop the land and create infrastructure. That is one of the major problem we are facing for industrial development, because the industrialists will come only when we give land. We have got surplus power, we have got water, we have got infrastructure but unless and until we give land to the industrialists at lesser price or even at a concessional rate because of the competition going on between Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, we are not able to get more industries. Therefore Home Ministry comes in between.
On the other side, the Lt. Governor is not allowing development in the State. Moreover, we are in a catch 22 situation, we are not the Members of the Central Finance Commission. Union Territory of Puducherry and Union Territory of Delhi are not the Members of the Central Finance Commission. There is Central Finance Commission and Union Territory Finance Commission. We are not also part of the Union Territory Finance Commission. We are neither here nor there. Therefore, the revenue collected by the Government of India has not been transferred to our kitty by the Government of India, it has been taken, whether it is Income Tax, Excise Duty, Customs Duty, Sales Tax, we are not getting our due share. Therefore, we wanted that system to be changed. We have been pleading with the Government of India that Puducherry should be included in the Central Finance Commission. The Government has been telling that Constitution has to be amended. Amending the Constitution will be a long process. Therefore, we said, there is a residual power for the Honourable President of India. The President of India can give the terms of reference when he feels that injustice has been done to some States. That power the President has to exercise. In fact, according to my information, as far Union Territory of Puducherry is concerned, the Finance Ministry recommended, the Prime Minister’s office vetoed it, because they do not want Delhi to be included in the Central Finance Commission. Therefore, we became a casualty. But, on the other hand in the GST Law, we are considered as a State.
Underthe GST Law, we are considered as a State and get our share from the commercial tax collected by the Government but when it comes to the question of Income Tax, Customs Duty and Excise Duty, the Port Tax, we are not getting our due share. They are not treating us as a State. Moreover, when the Government of India gives grant, the State Government gets 42% grant as the allocation made by the Central Finance Commission. We are getting only 26% grant. Our grant was 70% earlier, which has come down to 26%. From the point of view of grant given by the Government of India, from the point of view of land, development of land, from the point of view of mobilization of resources, we wanted full Statehood so that we will be able to develop the State further, bring industrial development, tourism potential and other things. In fact, when Hon’ble EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj was the Leader of the Opposition was heading the Committee on Home Affairs who visited Puducherry, she went through the issue of Statehood for Puducherry, met the legislature, met the NGOs, met the Bureaucrats and the Committee recommended that Puducherry has all the potential for the Statehood. The Parliamentary Committee recommended that. Moreover 13 resolutions were passed by the Legislative Assembly of Puducherry for grant of Statehood to Puducherry.
Now it has become imminent for us to claim Statehood for 3-4 main reasons. No. 1 – At the time when we merged with the Indian Union, and the Home Ministry, the legacy loan, which was in account of Home Ministry, they wanted us to repay. Secondly, the 6th Pay Commission arrears have not been paid to us. We implemented the 7th Pay Commission all over the country, Puducherry and Delhi implemented, not even Government of India. They are not even paying us the 7th Pay Commission arrears. Moreover, they are differentiating between Union Territory with Legislature, Puducherry on one side and Delhi on other side. The retired Government employees for their pension, the grant is given by the Government of India for Delhi. As far as Puducherry is concerned, it is being denied. Therefore, if we get the Statehood, we will be able to develop the State, and make it as one of the model State. This is the main reason for demanding Statehood. Giving certain reasons, because 5 lakh population of Nagaland Statehood was given. Then 10 lakh population of Arunachal Pradesh, they got Statehood. Goa got Statehood. Therefore, Puducherry should be given Statehood.
Therefore, today, we, all the political parties except BJP, N R Congress; they all supported the Statehood. Today, thousands of people from 21 political parties came to Delhi irrespective of political differences, the Congress Party, DMK, CPM, CPI, BCK, IUML, all other political parties, MDMK of Vaiko. Even Regional parties, small parties, we had an agitation in Jantar Mantar and we passed the unanimous resolution for grant of Statehood for Puducherry.
The other demand from our side is the recall of Dr Kiran Bedi, the Lt. Governor of Puducherry, who is functioning in an unconstitutional manner without following the due process under the constitutional provisions. Because in the Supreme Court, Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s case, the constitutional bench has clearly held that the Lieutenant Governor has to act on the advice of the council of Ministers. No.2 the decision of council is final. No.3 the Administrator, the Lieutenant Governor has no independent power to pass any order. No.4 the administrator or the Lieutenant Governor should not become an obstructionist. No.5 the Lieutenant Governor has to cooperate with the elected Government for development. All these five things have been clarified and there is one small provision in our legislation and also in the Union Territory of Delhi- When there is a difference of opinion between the council of ministers and Lieutenant Governor on policy matters, it has to be referred to the President of India. The Supreme Court said, Hon’ble Justice Chandrachud said on flimsy grounds the file should not be sent by the Lieutenant Governor, it should be in rare of rarest cases. But, the Lieutenant Governor, Dr. Kiran Bedi says that judgment will not apply to the Puducherry and she has been day in and day out creating problems for our Government, interfering in the administration, the day today administration. She is issuing independent orders. She is forcing the officers to implement those orders without knowledge of the Ministers and the Chief Minister and she is going on an inspection without the knowledge of the Ministers and the Chief Minister and she is conducting examination for the officers. She is only telling oral (verbal orders), she never gives anything in writing. There are standing orders saying that unless until the Lieutenant Governor says, whatever she says, it should be recorded on the file. It should be processed through the Director, Secretary, Chief Secretary, Hon’ble Ministers thereafter to me for implementation. But, she is threatening the officers because everybody knows her character. It is not new, yesterday, she was telling when we were going for agitation for statehood and also for removal of Dr. Kiran Bedi, she gave her best wishes for us then I thanked her saying that Madam, I am thanking you for giving us your best wishes for the statehood and also for your removal. I tweeted to her, because her agenda is very clear. She is implementing the agenda of this central Government. The Government of India wanted to create problem for the elected Congress Government, not only this Government they oppose all opposition ruled states, you know what happened, what they did in the Arunachal Pradesh, what they did in Uttarakhand because they have been using unconstitutional, unfair methods for the purpose of dislodging the duly elected opposition Governments. Now, the time has come, time will bring, time will change. Now the people has also understood what is going all over the country and definitely there will be change in 2019 parliament elections. When I wanted to meet the Hon’ble Prime Minister, When I seek appointment 10 times, he gives appointment one time.
I was minister in UPA Government. I was in the Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s office. We respected the Chief Ministers. We respected State Ministers. Prime Minister gave priority for meeting the Chief Ministers. Whether you do it or not, you hear the Chief Minister. He is representing the people of the State. The Prime Minister is disrespecting the Chief Ministers. They are not allowing the legally and entitled funds to our Government, our State. It is not Narayansamy, who is affected, it’s the people, who are affected, the State is affected, the State’s welfare is affected; the State’s development is affected. If the state welfare & development is affected, how will there be overall development in the country. Unless & until the States develop, how the country will develop. The small state or bigger state, the state is a state. If the Prime Minister claims the growth of 6.7 percent growth, unless & until we give the growth how can that 6.7 percent growth will be achieved in the all over the country. Therefore these two demands are our very genuine demands.
Today we are very grateful to Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Hon’ble Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, the Hon’ble Sitaram Yechury, Hon’ble D. Raja, Hon’ble Madam Kanimozhi, Hon’ble MP Shri Shiva, TKS Elangovan, Sri Rangarajan the Hon’ble MP came. They addressed the people, they supported our demands. They said that they will raise it in the Parliament.
These are two major demands- One is the statehood for the Puducherry and second demand is recall of the LG, Dr. Kiran Bedi. These are our two demands because earlier the demand was within the state, today it has come to the capital city. So, that the Government of India will focus on our demands. As far as Madam Kiran Bedi is concerned, she only wants publicity. She is not interested in the development of the State. She took oath of secrecy. She is placing all the files on the Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp. She is violating the oath of secrecy. That is the one ground, she should be recalled, but unfortunately the Government of India, the Hon’ble Prime Minister has taken a call, I think. Now, I think the Hon’ble Prime Minister will take a call.