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PM's action plan for good governance

By Onkar Singh in Srinagar
August 27, 2003 19:49 IST
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Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday said his government is willing to sit with state governments to discuss "an action plan on good governance."

He was speaking at the eighth Inter-State Council meeting in Srinagar.

He presented a five-point programme for evolving a programme of  good governance: "A comprehensive legal framework that is defended and enforced by an impartial and competent judicial system. A framework that would be accountable and open. A transparent executive decision making apparatus. A system coupled with a capable, efficient and people friendly bureaucracy and last but not the least, a strong civil society."

He said the dynamics of social, economic and political forces in India have changed significantly since the Sarkaria Commission submitted its report on Centre-state relationship. "Centre-state relationship has improved and a sense of
partnership has emerged. The end of one-party rule at the Centre has inaugurated a new process of harmonisation of regional aspirations. This has also helped political parties to somewhat alter their traditional positions on various issues," he said.

The prime minister asserted that during his tenure the Centre-state relations improved because of a strong federal spirit.

"The [Inter-State] Council strengthens the bond of partnership between the Union and the states, which is the mainstay of our democratic polity and also the main requirement for achieving India's speedy all-round development," he said.

He said a majority of programmes undertaken by governments -- both at the Centre and in states -- are expenditure based and not sufficeintly based on quantitative and qualitative changes. "This must change. All of us now realise that the people are demanding higher levels of performance by the governments they elect. Therefore, I would like the Inter-State Council secretariat to focus on monitoring the implementation of the action plan on good governance both in quantitative and qualitative aspects," he said.

Talking about 59 recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission, Vajpayee said he is happy that instructions have been issued to ministries and departments to consult the state governments -- barring on those issues which figure on the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution -- before taking a decision.

"I urge the Union ministries and departments as well as the state governments to ensure adherence with these instructions," he said.

He complimented Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and the people of the state for successfully organising the Council.

"The people of Jammu and Kashmir deserve our highest appreciation for showing their faith in democracy in the face of grave threats. I assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that we will give them maximum help in consolidating the recent gains. We will further intensify our sincere efforts to advance the dialogue process," he said.

Vajpayee said the government has kept its door open to those who wish to enter into a dialogue with it and play a constructive role in  taking Jammu and Kashmir forward.


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Onkar Singh in Srinagar