Inter-State Council meeting on Saturday after 10 years

New Delhi/Agartala, July 15 (IANS) The Inter-State Council (ISC) will be meeting in New Delhi on Saturday after a hiatus of 10 years and will discuss further strengthening of the Centre-state relations and use of Aadhaar card as a tool in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), a top official said on Friday.

“The ISC meeting would be held tomorrow (Saturday) following the pressure of many states. The meeting would discuss the recommendations of the Punchhi Commission on Centre-state relations,” a top Tripura government official told IANS in Agartala, declining to be identitified.

The five-member Punchhi Commission headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi submitted its report to the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram in April 2010.

The commission, constituted in April 2007, has taken a fresh look at the relative roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government and their inter-relations.

“The central government had asked the commission to make recommendations to help address the emerging challenges and better Centre-state relations,” the official added.

A comprehensive assessment of the Centre-state relations had been undertaken by the Sarkaria Commission, the first commission on the issue, in the mid-’80s.

The official said at Saturday’s meeting the Inter-State Council would also discuss the use of Aadhaar card as an identifier and use of the Direct Beneficiary Transfer (DBT) for providing subsidies, benefits and public services to the people.

“Improving quality of school education with focus on improving learning outcomes, incentivising better performance would also be discussed in the meeting,” he added.

The official said that Saturday’s meeting would discuss internal security of the country with focus on intelligence sharing and coordination for combating terrorism, Naxalism, insurgency and police reforms and police modernisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair the ISC meeting. Several Union ministers and the country’s 31 Chief Ministers are expected to attend the meeting.

The last and tenth meeting of the ISC was held on December 9, 2006, in New Delhi. The Saturday meeting would be the eleventh and the first meeting of reconstituted ISC headed by the Prime Minister.

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is the lone member from the northeastern region in the Standing Committee of the ISC headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, left Agartala for New Delhi to attend the meeting.

“Sarkar in the ISC meeting would underline strengthening of states’ power in some financial and security aspects and close and more better centre-state relations,” the official pointed out.

–IANS

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