PM to inaugurate Intl Conf on Federalism on Nov 5

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New Delhi, Nov 4: Terrorism, federal crimes, river water disputes and other issues involving various states and the centre would be discussed at the Fourth International Conference on Federalism to be inagurated by Prime Minister Minister Manmohan Singh here tomorrow.

The three-day conference being organised by the Indian Government in partnership with the Canada-based Forum of Federations, an international forum of federal countries, would promote dialogue on the renewal and development of federalism and greater cooperation among practitioners in pursuit of good governance.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and eminent jurist Fali S Nariman would also address the conference.

About 1000 delegates are likely to attend the conference, including the President of Comoros, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the President of Switzerland.

The Conference on the theme 'Unity in Diversity--learning from each other' would have four broad themes and twelve sub-themes. The topics for Theme Sessions include 'Building on and Accommodating Diversities', 'Emerging Issues in Fiscal Federalism', 'Interaction in a Federal system' and 'Local Government and Federal Systems'.

For the first time, local government will be the topic of a theme session.

The various sub-themes of the conference include 'Nation Building and Diversity', 'Autonomy and Diversity', 'Managing Conflicts of Diversity', 'Resolving Fiscal Conflicts and Regional Equity', 'Anticipating and Handling Tension and Conflict', 'Accountablity and Transparency', 'Enhancement of Democracy Through Empowerment of Disadvantaged Groups' and 'Governance of Megacities in Federal Orders'.

The conference will be unique in the sense that principal actors and practitioners of federal democracy at all levels, including those heading Federal Governments to those heading constituent units and representatives of federal practice at the grassroots, would participate in it along with scholars, experts, administrators and social activists dedicated to federalism.

The participants would collectively engage in the process of sharing ideas, experiences and drawing inspiration from one another.

They would be treated equal and provided an environment conducive to a free and frank dialogue. The conference would provide a practical forum for the sharing of federalism's best practices that ultimately contribute to better governance.

An Outreach Event will also be held alongside the conference from November 4 - 8 to showcase grassroots federalism at work in India and a showcase the country's plurality and diversity to the common man. The Event will highlight that federalism for India is a phenomenon that touches all aspects of life, showcasing its impact on people, economics and livelihoods, through Dialogues / Workshops, Art Exhibitions, Live Performance, Cuisines and Merchandise.

The event which would give the international participants a flavour of Indian diversity would be held in partnership with the Ministries of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Tribal Affairs and development of North-Eastern Region.

Earlier International conferences on Federalism were held in Canada in 1999, Switzerland (2002) and Belgium (2005).

UNI

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