Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday demanded the setting up of a constituent assembly to frame a fresh Constitution for the country along "genuinely federal lines" as the present Constitution was "not in tune with requirements of changing times".
Winding up the debate on the motion of thanks to the
Governor`s address in Punjab Assembly, Badal alleged states
had been gradually reduced to the "status of beggars" as the
meagre powers given to states were progressively eroded by the
He said the constitution was not in tune with the
requirements of the changing times and as a result the country
was not able to fully utilize its potential for development
Badal said states were best qualified to understand and
address the problems of the people in an effective manner.
"Shiromani Akali Dal was the first to raise this demand
because it is in the interest of the country to grant autonomy
to the states".
Pleading for recasting of formula for devolution of funds
to states, Badal said "strong states mean strong nation."
He demanded 50 per cent of the revenue collected by the
Centre should be given to states to carry out development
works according to their felt needs.
He pointed out that the norms devised by the Centre for
the distribution of resources and devolution of central funds
were "too stringent" to deliberately exclude states like
Punjab from these centrally-sponsored schemes.
The Chief Minister made a strong pitch for transfer of
Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas to the state and
declared "Chandigarh is the soul and spirit of Punjab and
must be transferred to us without further delay."
He also demanded a resolution of the river water dispute as
per the national and internationally accepted riparian