Debate direct election of PM, CMs: Chouhan
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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.


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

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