Punchhi panel report implementation only after consensus: PM

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday indicated that his government is keen to implement Justice Punchhi Commission's recommendations on the Inter State Council but hastened to add that he would prefer a "consensus" to start the process. Making his concluding remarks at the end of day-long conference convened after 10 years, he said that the deliberations on the same by chief ministers of various states marked a "good beginning".  He said that discussions on the subject will continue, and "as consensus evolves on the recommendations, the process of implementation will follow thereafter", according to an official release.  Modi thanked all the participating Chief Ministers and Lt. Governors for their suggestions and views expressed on various agenda items discussed at the meeting, and expressed happiness at the near-total acceptance of Aadhaar as a tool to promote good governance and transparency.  He said there are significant savings to the exchequer as a result of Aadhaar, and asked central government officials to collect data from the states on the extent saved.  He said that all post offices have now been recognized as payment banks, and this will be of great help in implementing the Direct Benefit Transfer.  On education, which was also part of day's agenda, the Prime Minister said that going forward, just expansion of education is not enough, and the focus should be on quality, and a deficit of quality can be bridged through technology. Touching upon law and order, Modi emphasized that both the Union and the state governments in India "cannot ignore what is happening" across the world, and urged all concerned to keep politics aside, and keep national security paramount.  Citing his recent interaction with state police chiefs at their conference, he urged all chief ministers to follow-up on the discussions that took place there.  He stressed on maintaining a visible presence of police forces, and underscored the importance of a good CCTV network in curbing crime, adding privately-installed CCTVs are also extremely useful in this regard.  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. Set up in April 2007, it had taken a fresh look at the relative roles and responsibilities of the various levels of government and their inter-relations, and among other issues, recommended that Inter-State Council need to be "substantially strengthened".  The commission further had said the council must meet at least thrice in a year on an agenda evolved after proper consultation with states. "The ISC must be empowered to follow up the implementation of its decisions for which appropriate statutory provisions should be made. The government will be well advised to evolve an appropriate scheme to utilize the full potential of ISC in harmonizing centre-state relations," it had said.