Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked the Centre to desist from legislating rules on matters that are in the exclusive domain of the states. Legislation on subjects in the concurrent list should be carried out only after adequate consultation with the states, he said.

Addressing the seventh Governing Council Meeting of NITI Aayog held at Rashtrapati Bhawan, Vijayan demanded the continuation of the compensation paid by the Centre instead of the revenue losses due to the integration into the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime for another five years. A review of the imposition of GST on essential items was another suggestion made. He also sought the Centre’s intervention to lift the stringent restrictions imposed on borrowing limits of states as the economy is yet to recover from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Kerala CM also sought urgent central intervention to enhance necessary legal remedies in the wake of the recent Supreme Court judgement on eco-sensitive zones to alleviate the hardships of the people affected by the decision.

Pointing out Kerala is at the forefront in the decentralisation initiatives, where all the functions in the 11th and 12th Schedules of the Constitution have been devolved to the local self-governments, he wanted this achievement to be taken into account while distributing the consolidated funds to states. Vijayan pointed out the central share of assistance under PMAY Urban and Rural needs to be revised considering the upward cost of construction materials.

He wanted time-bound completion of all projects, including the National Highway development and sought the Centre’s support for early clearance of the state’s pending rail and air traffic proposals.

The Centre’s support in revitalising cash crops by producing value-added products from coconut and producing more offshoots through tissue culture and commercialising the sector was sought. Vijayan also pitched for support in enhancing more palm oil processing units in Kerala.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah, chief ministers of other states, and finance minister Nirmala Sitharam, minister for external affairs S. Jai Shankar and minister for road, transport and highways Nitin Gadkari. This was the first council meeting of NITI Aayog after the new vice chairperson Suman Bery and CEO Parameswaran Ayyar assumed office.

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