Region-based development must in federal set up: Kalam

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New Delhi, Nov 06 (UNI) Former President A P J Abdul Kalam today advocated a region-oriented approach to development in a federal set-up for all round development of the country.

Addressing the 4th International Conference on Federalism here, Dr Kalam said developmental schemes and solutions to problems need to be region-based because our resources, climate and terrain are region-based with each region waving its unique culture.

The states should work to their core competence and complement one another. Overall planning at the central level should focus on regional development, he said.

Minister for Power Shushil Kumar Shinde said India could not progress without a federal structure.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee last evening called for hastening the process of devolution of power at the grass-roots level. He said that without a sense of participation in governance, there could be no credible empowerment. Minister for Panchayati Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports and Development of North Eastern Region Mani Shankar Aiyar said the only way to achieve inclusive growth was by strengthening Panchayats, the third tier of democracy.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said democratic governments were better equipped to maintain a cohesive policy amidst diverse interests and priorities. He stressed the need to amicably resolve all fiscal issues without jeopardising national unity and integrity.

The three-day conference deliberated on theme sessions based on four broad themes and twelve sub-themes which included '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 has been chosen as the topic of a theme session.

The conference is being organised by the Inter State Council Secretariat of the Government of India in partnership with the Forum of Federations, a Canada based international forum of federal countries. The earlier conferences were held in Canada in 1999, Switzerland in 2002 and Belgium in 2005.

UNI

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