Debate direct election of PM, CMs: Chouhan

Last Updated: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 19:40

New Delhi: Claiming itself to be a model
state in good governance, Madhya Pradesh on Saturday suggested
several reforms like direct election of Prime Minister and
chief ministers, state funding of elections and seizure of
property of the corrupt.

Addressing the National Development Council meet here,
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan highlighted how the state
had achieved more than the growth targets set for it by the
Centre and progressed in the fields of infrastructure,
tourism and rural development.

"I think the time has come, when we should start debating
direct elections of Prime Minister and Chief Ministers,"
Chouhan said.

He also called for electoral reforms to check poll
malpractices.

"I wish to affirm that our commitment to good governance
and integrity will be displayed only when we take concrete
steps towards electoral reforms. I strongly recommend state
funding of elections to curb misuse of money during elections.
Frequent elections and bypolls should be done away with and
all elections should be concurrently held once in five years,"
Chouhan said.

The Chief Minister also underlined the need for taking
stern measures against corruption.

"We have enacted a legislation enabling the government to
forfeit property earned through corrupt means. I earnestly
request the government of India to give assent to this
legislation and strengthen our resolve to restore probity in
public life," Chouhan said.

Chouhan claimed that Madhya Pradesh is likely to achieve
10.06 per cent growth in 11th Five Year plan period against
the set target of 7.6 per cent per annum.

"Madhya Pradesh has already achieved the target growth on
annual basis of more than 9 per cent in last three years," he
said.

However, the state is not without its problems and
challenges, he said.

"Lower level of per capita income gives rise to many
disparities and social imbalances which need special attention
on the part of the Central government, to bring the state at
par with rest of the country for equitable and inclusive
growth," Chouhan said.

He sought financial assistance from the Centre to improve
roads and the rail network in Madhya Pradesh.

"I would like to point out that the state is facing acute
shortage of funds under the Central Road Fund scheme. The
Ministry sanctioned road projects of Rs 1,400 crore, but the
requisite funds are not being made available to the state,"
Chouhan said.

On the rail network, he maintained that it has the lowest
density of rail network in the country.

"There is no immediate plan to improve the rail
connectivity in the state. This has resulted in a major
economic bottleneck as Madhya Pradesh is a landlocked state,"
Chouhan said.

For tourism, the chieef minister complained that the
recent imposition of service tax on hospitality industry by
the Centre is a "retrograde step" which will affect investment
in the sector.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 19:40

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