New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday flayed the centre, saying it was indifferent to reducing poverty and was busy conspiring against the common man to facilitate foreign investors.
Speaking at the 57th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) here, Jayalalithaa said: "We get the impression that the government at the centre is indifferent to reducing poverty. Large-scale poverty and inequality persist, and even widens with every Plan. The union government, far from serving the common man/woman, is conspiring against him/her by hiking prices of essential commodities and inputs and appears more focused on facilitating the interests of foreign investors."
She said the central government is caught in the daily squabbles of its constituents, merely trying to survive from day to day, and has neither the time nor the inclination to pay attention to the problems of the people of this country.
Wondering what the purpose of the NDC meeting was, Jayalalithaa pointed out that the country was already nearly three-quarters of the way into the first year of the Twelfth Plan.
"I wonder whether it would be useful to comment on the contents of the 12th Plan Document, since it is very unlikely that any such views would be taken on board," she said.
Complaining that none of her suggestions made at the last meeting on the Approach to the Twelfth Plan found its way into the final Plan document Jayalalithaa said: "I found that no reasonable and legitimate suggestion from the states has been accepted and the big brotherly and undemocratic approach of superimposing on elected state governments dubious policies, priorities and programmes of a minority ruling coterie in Delhi has prevailed."
Blaming the centre's poor macro-economic management for the economic slowdown and adverse conditions facing the country, the Tamil Nadu chief minister, however, complimented the Planning Commission for admitting to policy failures.
"The central government has miserably failed in effective economic management of the country and is now forcing the resultant hardship on the people at large," Jayalalithaa said.
She said Tamil Nadu's legitimate requests are being turned down or ignored and every initiative stymied.
According to her, the centre is ineffective in playing its constitutional role in ensuring that the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal is notified so that it can be implemented and also failed to protect fishermen from attacks across the maritime boundary.
She said the non-issuance of licence for Digital Addressable System for the state capital by the centre is to facilitate the business interests of a particular family which forms part of the ruling coalition at the centre.
"This vindictive and discriminative act of the Government of India is highly condemnable and is yet another example of subverting the interests of the common people and the ruling dispensation's perpetual pandering to allies to ensure the survival of the central government," she said.
Charging the centre with being unfair, Jayalalithaa said the proportion of central assistance to the states for the Plan is down from 24.42 percent of the states' aggregate resources in the Eleventh Plan, to 23.08 percent in the Twelfth Plan.
She said the direct cash transfer scheme of the centre reveals short-sightedness and little understanding of ground realities.
"The cash transfer mechanism will not work for certain schemes like the Public Distribution System and fertilizer subsidy, where ensuring availability of food grains and fertilizers is much more crucial to preserve food security than transferring cash," she said.
Voicing her opposition to the pricing of water as outlined in the Plan Document Jayalalithaa urged the centre to use the NDC to discuss the issues concerning the states and consult with chief ministers on various issues and give due weightage to their viewpoints, rather than treating such occasions as purely ceremonial events to rubber-stamp a Central Plan.