Fiscal management by states needed for central programmes: Saraswat

Kolkata: The NITI Aayog's major agenda is "cooperative federalism" but states will have to ensure their own fiscal management for implementation of central programmes, a member said on Monday. According to member Vijay K Saraswat, the "tweaking" of plans for various central programmes have to be done within the state's "economic framework" and states need to prioritise accordingly and opt for the right "balance" through fiscal management. "We are aware of that (debt burden of states). And you have to tweak these plans within the framework of the states' economy and prioritise accordingly," said Saraswat when asked about how debt-ridden states like Bengal will roll out central government-backed projects. "If there's a burden of 35 years of misrule what can we (NITI Ayog) do? If a father has left his child with debt what does the child do? He works hard to repay and does not go to neighbour to repay," he said on the sidelines of an interactive session organised by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce. Saraswat also dismissed Bengal's Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's comment that states have less opportunity for discussion of states' issues. "We are interacting practically with every state. There is a planned focus for each state in the various programmes of the central government. If the states have any issues for what kind of template to be followed or kind of customisation is needed for implementation of central programmes, we are interacting with them," he said.