Arvind Kejriwal Fuels Center-State Divide With Baseless Revenue Claims

The Aam Aadmi party, which won an impressive victory in the recent Punjab assembly elections, supports separatist elements in Punjab and Kashmir. The party openly clashed with Khalistan separatist groups, which were revealed even by former party leaders, and supported Kashmiri terrorists, which was evident when Arvind Kejriwal mocked the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. In another such incident, the AAP supremo hinted at his separatist intentions, implying that the states of India are different from India as a nation.

Arvind Keriwal made a potentially secessionist remark on NDTV India, where the presenter questioned the party for seeking helpers from central Punjab after it announced giveaways ahead of the election. It can be noted that before the elections in Punjab, Arvind Kejriwal claimed that the giveaways announced by the party would be funded by saving ₹54,000 crore from the “wastage” of public money through corruption. However, immediately after becoming Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann had demanded ₹1 crore lakh from the center over the next two years.

When the NDTV presenter asked Kejriwal about it, he replied bluntly that Mann had gone to claim his own money. He said that the money belonging to people from various states “lies” with the central government and he just asks the center to give the money of the people of Punjab.

Kejriwal claimed that Punjab CM came to the center to say, “Give us Punjab money, we have to work.” He shamelessly ignored that he promised to save ₹54,000 crore just by rooting out corruption like he ‘did in Delhi’ even after affirming that Bhagwant Mann has already ended corruption in 10 days.

Kejriwal’s comments that state money is at the center again raises questions about his understanding of economics despite being a CM and former tax official. Time and time again he tries to drive a wedge between the center and the states, implying that the states are sovereign entities separate from the Indian government.

The fact is that the central government is not a foreign bank in which the states have deposited their money and can withdraw “their money” at will. Despite Rahul Gandhi’s recent assertions that India is just a union of states, the Indian constitution makes it clear that India is a nation and the states form that nation.

In the GST system, the states collect the state GST while the center collects the central GST, both of which are 50% of the applicable GST on a taxable item. This means that states already collect a 50% tax on most goods and services themselves. Apart from this, a share of the central GST is also distributed among the states along with other taxes such as income tax and corporation tax. The central government also compensates the States for any loss of revenue due to the transition from the VAT regime to the GST regime.

State CMs do not have to come to the center to ask for their share of the revenue, this is already allocated by the center based on the recommendation of the Finance Committee. For example, in the Union Budget 2022-23, Punjab was assigned ₹14,756.86 crore from various taxes levied by the central government.

Most importantly, Bhagwant Mann was not demanding Punjab’s share of the center’s revenue as claimed by Kejriwal, the CM was demanding an additional ₹50,000 crore per year for two years, claiming the state’s economy was in very bad shape. bad position. But Arvind Kejriwal called it Punjab demanding its own money from the center which is completely wrong.

Also, no state can say they want 100% of their tax share, because all the taxes the center collects come solely from the states, and the center also has its own budget to fund. Since the Indian government does not have a separate territory or a separate taxpayer base, as Kejriwal seems to suggest, it cannot apportion all revenue among the states in the form of cash. Just as the states benefit from various central government schemes and central departmental services, they must also contribute to the central fund.

There are several sectors where the central government spends money, all of which ultimately benefit citizens living only in the states. The central government has huge departments to run like defense, homeland security, infrastructure development, etc. The central government also spends large sums of money on various central welfare programs and several subsidy programs, which benefit the citizens.

While the center builds roads and railway lines, runs social welfare programs for farmers and the poor, these benefit only the residents of the respective states, the center does not have separate citizens to serve.

It is not that the central government hoards state money as Kejriwal claims, the money is distributed between the states and various departments and central regimes, which are detailed in the budget, based on the recommendations of various committees, finance commission, etc. The departmental parliamentary commission reviews all these details, none of which is done in secret. Therefore, with deputies in both houses of parliament and with two state governments, the leader of the AAP knows all these details.

Yet Arvind Kejriwal continues to fuel the center-state divide with baseless claims, whereby he is playing a dangerous game of dividing the country. India has been fighting separatism for decades in Punjab, Kashmir and the North Eastern state. The country has also faced regionalism from several states, all of which end up harming the nation as a whole.

As CM and leader of the ruling party in two states, Arvind Kejriwal should be fighting separatism and regionalism, but he is instead fueling them.

By demanding money from the centre, Arvind Kejriwal has proven that his lofty claims of funding his populist plans by reducing corruption are just lofty demands, and now he and his party are actively laying the groundwork to blame the Modi government. at the center for the failure to fulfill their election promises.

It seems that the non-NDA parties have decided that weakening the nation by creating internal divisions is the best way to defeat the BJP in the polls, as Arvind Kejriwal is not the only one adopting this strategy. Rahul Gandhi has started challenging the idea of ​​India lately, saying that India is just a “union of states” and not a nation.

The Congress leader had said the power arrangement between the states and the center was a matter of “negotiation” and hinted that India did not have a single national identity. In claiming that the center is hoarding state-owned money, Arvind Kejriwal is also essentially making the same allegations.

Other non-NDA state governments like the governments of West Bengal and Maharashtra have also chosen to fight with the center on almost every aspect of governance instead of collaborating together for the development and welfare of the people . In doing so, the major ruling county political parties in some major states are actively supporting anti-nationalism and separatism in the country, which is a very dangerous sign.

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