Saturday, February 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Centre asked to bail out states
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 — With several states, including Punjab, in the midst of a major financial crisis, the Eleventh Finance Commission has stepped in to bail out the cash-starved states.

The commission, it is understood, has asked the Centre to provide about Rs 16,000 crore to states in 2000-01 in loans and advances to enable them to tide over the financial crisis.

The commission in a report to the Government recently had provided a brief account of the expenditure for maintenance of capital assets and plan schemes that were to be transferred to non-plan schemes by the current financial year.

The commission’s report was in keeping with the recent proposals for modifications in the Tenth Finance Commission. The government had earlier this month, proposed modification in the Tenth Finance Commission recommendations to change the terminology from Gross proceeds to Net proceeds.

In this regard it was decided to reintroduce a constitutional amendment Bill to implement the alternative proposal for devolution of 29 per cent of central taxes to states as recommended by the Tenth Finance Commission.

The implementation of the new formula could have resulted in a reduction up to Rs 2000 crore in total devolution to the states, but, this government say could be made up by compensating the loss.

The government’s proposal was to be effective from April 1, 1996 to March 31, 2000, while the recommendations of the Eleventh Finance Commission had been mandated to give its final report by June 30, 2000, which would cover the five-year period with effect from April 1, 2000.

The finance of several states had come under pressure eversince the government implemented the Fifth Pay Commission’s recommendations for Central Government employees. This has had a spin-off effect on the states as they too had to follow suit. The additional burden as a result of the pay hike on the states is estimated at around Rs 20,000 crore annually.

The Eleventh Finance Commission Chairman, Prof A.M. Khusro, has been advocating that the states impose additional taxes to reduce the increasing revenue deficit.

Since defence outgo, subsidies, interest and salaries form a major chunk on the expenditure side of the Centre and the states, Professor Khusro has favoured a policy of phasing out subsidies over a period of time.

He is of the opinion that desirable subsidies should be increased and non-desirable subsidies reduced.Back


Uma Bharati, VHP chief detained

BHOPAL, Feb 18 (UNI) — Vishwa Hindu Parishad President Acharya Giriraj Kishore, former Union Minister Uma Bharati and former Bajrang Dal President Jiabhann Singh Pavaiya, MP, were among several leaders and activists arrested by the police in the wake of the Dal’s national convention, which was to begin here today.

The police detained Mr Giriraj Kishore and Ms Uma Bharati as a preventive measure, Mr Pavaiya and Bajrang Dal Convener Surendra were held for defying prohibitory orders under Section 144, CrPC.

During an early morning swoop, the police took into custody Mr Giriraj Kishore from the residence of his relative here. Ms Bharati was intercepted at Sukhi Sevania and brought to Bhopal. She was released after two hours.

The Madhya Pradesh Assembly was adjourned till Monday amid pandemonium and sloganeering by BJP members over the arrest of the Bajrang Dal and BJP activists.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) denied reports that the Bajrang Dal had shifted its convention venue from Madhya Pradesh to Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) at the intervention of the Prime Minister.

A spokesmen of the PMO said neither the Prime Minister had spoken to the Bajrang Dal or the VHP representatives, nor the leaders of these organisations had spoken to him on this matter.

The police resorted to a baton-charge to quell stone-pelting Bajrang Dal activists trying to forcibly enter the heavily guarded Chhola Dussehra Grounds where the Dal had originally proposed to hold its convention.

Nine persons, including three policemen, were injured in the clash between The police and the Dal activists. Assistant Inspector-General of Police Mukesh Jain and Commandant Rajiv Tandon were among the injured.

Of the six injured Bajrang Dal activists, one identified as Santosh Sahu, received serious head injuries when he reportedly fell from the rostrum of Dussehra Grounds. He was admitted to the local Hamidia Hospital. He was stated to be out of danger.

Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) A.N. Singh said Bajrang Dal activists made an attempt to hoist the Dal flag at the venue of the Dal convention.

He said 200 activists had been arrested in connection with the incident.

He explained that the activists in three groups of 50 each made their way to the Chhola Grounds area from different streets. While the police rounded up the first jatha and was in the midst of arresting the second, the third group suddenly appeared on the scene and started throwing stones. This led to a state of confusion for about 15 minutes, during which some activists managed to sneak into the ground.

The police had to burst teargas shells as the mild baton-charge failed to disperse the activists. It took about half an hour for the police to bring the situation under control.

Barring this clash, no untoward incident was reported from any other part of the town.

Ms Bharati told mediapersons on the phone that as she got down from Tamil Nadu Express near Vidisha to cover the remaining journey to Bhopal by road, she was “intercepted” and whisked away under a heavy police cover to the rest house of the local Technical Training Institute. The police, however, denied having arrested Ms Bharati, saying she had been brought to the rest house as she was travelling in a car without security.Back


EC directive on Haryana poll

NEW DELHI, Feb 18 (UNI) — The Election Commission today directed the Governments of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to seal their borders with Haryana one day before Assembly polls in the state on February 22.

They have also been asked to ensure that anti-socials are not allowed to cross over to Haryana and smuggle in illegal arms and weapons to vitiate polling. Vehicles coming to Haryana should be properly checked for this purpose, according to the communication conveyed to the Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Rajasthan and UP by Secretary to the Commission K.R. Prasad. Back

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