‘Role of Governors, Lt Governors important in cooperative federalism’
   Date :24-Nov-2019

THE role of Governors and Lt Governors has become important when the country’s emphasis is on cooperative and competitive federalism for progress of the nation, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday. In his inaugural speech at the two-day-long Governor and Lt Governors’ Conference here, the President said all the Governors have abundant experience of public life and people of the country should get the maximum benefit out of it.
The role of Governor is not limited to protection and preservation of the Constitution but they have a commitment to remain persistent in the service and welfare of the people of their states, Kovind said, adding “ultimately, we all work for the public and we are also answerable to them”. Today the Governors’ role becomes even more important “when we are emphasising on cooperative federalism and healthy competitive federalism in the interest of the progress of the country”, an official release issued quoted the President as saying. While cooperative federalism means that the Centre and the State Governments along with representatives of local bodies formulate similar policies for the betterment of the people rather than working at cross purpose, competitive federalism means states competing among themselves as well as with the Centre.
The Centre has already started taking measures for competitive federalism by replacing the Planning Commission with NITI Ayog and also tabling in Parliament the recommendations of the 14th finance commission which envisages increase of the central tax revenue share from 32 per cent to 42 per cent. Earlier, while inaugurating the 50th conference of Governors and Lt Governors of States and Union Territories, the President made a special mention about Lt Governors of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir -- R K Mathur and G C Murmu respectively. It was the first representation at the conference from the two newly carved out Union Territories, which came into existence on October 31 this year.
Emphasising on the importance of Governors’ role, Kovind made an emphatic reference to the welfare of tribals and said their development and empowerment is linked to inclusive growth as well as to internal security of the country. “Governors can give all the proper guidance by using the constitutional powers given to them, to improve the lives of these people, which have remained relatively behind in terms of development,” he said. The President said the agenda items for this year’s conference has been done in accordance with the new work culture of ‘New India’ so as to make the conference more useful and goal-oriented.
He said optimal use and conservation of water resources is one of the highest priorities of the country. “We should make the Jal Shakti Abhiyan a mass movement like the Swachh Bharat Mission,” Kovind said. The President said the goal of “our new education policy” is to make India a “knowledge super power”. In order to materialise this ambition, all institutions of higher education should make every effort to promote research and innovation, he said. “Governors, as chancellors, also perform the responsibility of guardianship. Therefore, they are expected to give proper guidance to the future generations in their efforts to acquire skills and knowledge,” Kovind said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah also addressed the inaugural session. During the conference, a sub-group of Governors will deliberate on agenda items which include tribal issues, reforms in agriculture, Jal Jeevan mission, new education policy for higher education and governance for ‘Ease of Living’. 
Listen to needs of people, work towards uplift of underprivileged sections, minorities: PM
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked Governors and lieutenant Governors to listen to the needs of the people and work towards uplift of the underprivileged sections of the society, including minorities. He made these remarks at a conference of Governors and Lieutenant Governors here. He also made a special mention of healthcare, education and tourism sectors where there were new opportunities waiting to be harnessed for job generation and betterment of the poor and downtrodden, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Modi said as they work to discharge their constitutional responsibilities, the Governor and LGs should listen to the needs of the common man. The Prime Minister urged the Governors to work towards uplift of the underprivileged sections of the population, including the scheduled tribes, minority communities, women and the youth, which includes working with state Governments and utilising the existing schemes and initiatives,” the statement said. He said that the institution of Governor has a special role to play in realising a cooperative and competitive federal structure. Modi observed that as India celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence in 2022 and the 100th anniversary in 2047, the role of the Governor in bringing the administrative machinery closer to the people of the country and showing them the correct path becomes even more important.
“As we celebrate 70 years of the framing of the Indian Constitution, governors and State Governments should also work towards highlighting the service aspects of the Indian Constitution, in particular the duties and responsibilities of the citizens. This will help to bring about participatory governance in the truest sense,” he was quoted as saying. He pointed out that Governor’s office could also be used for specific objectives like spreading awareness about tuberculosis and making India free of this disease by 2025. In their roles as chancellors of universities, governors could help inculcate the values of nation building among our youth and help to inspire them towards greater achievements, the Prime Minister said. He was of the view that due to their administrative structure, Union territories can emerge as a role model in terms of development.
The Prime Minister expressed happiness that the latest edition of the conference would see innovative detailed ‘break-out’ discussions in five sub-groups on specific issues and challenges -- tribal issues, reforms in agriculture, Jal Jeevan Mission, New Education Policy and Governance for ‘Ease of Living’; whose reports will then be discussed in the larger format by the participants. At the 50th annual governors’ conference, 17 first time Governors and lieutenant Governors, including the Lt. Governors of the newly formed union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, participated . Besides Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah and Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat were among those present on the occasion.