The conference of Chief Secretaries of States / UTs was concluded here this evening. The institutional arrangement put in place for regular interaction between the Centre and the States through the mechanism of Annual Conference of Chief Secretaries was welcomed and commended by all the States. Some of the important decisions/suggestions of the two day deliberations include:
1. Constitute a Standing Committee of Secretaries chaired by Cabinet Secretary, comprising Secretaries of Scientific Departments, as well as non-Scientific Departments such as Planning Commission, DIPP, MNRE and M/o Food Processing Industries to identify technologies that are of interest to the States and consider ways of developing and popularizing relevant technologies. The scientific Departments, will prepare within the next one month a scheme for putting in place an institutional mechanism for regular linking, dissemination and outreach of technologies from the laboratories to the States for actual utilization for benefit of the people. Each State was requested to nominate a nodal officer for interaction with the Centre on all issues relating to S&T development in the respective States.
2. Keeping in view the need to take priority action on climate change, States were advised to expedite formulation of State Action Plans on Climate Change. States were also requested to effectively and expeditiously utilize funds already released to the States for restoration/regeneration of natural forests, and draw up suitable advance plans for utilization of balance amounts. States were also advised to strengthen State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) through recruitment of independent environmental experts.
3. States were advised to nominate a nodal officer for interaction with the M/o External Affairs on all issues relating to foreign policy and related matters. MEA will set up a Joint Consultative Group with the States for regular interaction between the Centre and the States, and also organize workshops on issues of concern to the States. MEA was also advised to involve concerned States in discussions on border management related issues.
4. In respect of international trade matters, States were advised to take advantage of various Central Government schemes for promotion of exports, particularly labour intensive sectors. States were also advised to consider setting up WTO Centres for training of their personnel and for creating greater awareness in the States about the state of negotiations and implications of WTO agreements.
5. States may consider setting up Cabinet Committees under Chief Ministers, on the same lines as the Union Cabinet Committee on UID. States were also implored to extend all possible support to UIDAI to expedite the process of enrolment of persons for issue of UID number.
6. On defence projects, States were advised to expedite land acquisition and forests & environmental clearances. States will also facilitate real-time sharing of intelligence with defence forces. A mechanism will be worked out by Ministry of Defence to ensure coordination with States on all defence-related matters, including problems of serving and retired personnel.
The Conference also included a detailed feedback session during which specific issues raised by States were taken up for discussions. These included adequate availability of fertilizers, allocation of coal and water for power projects, suggestions on Solar Power Policy, good governance initiatives and expediting District Plans for minority concentration districts.
The two day Conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. In his address, the Prime Minister said that it is incumbent upon the Chief Secretaries to ensure that the administrative apparatus is geared to match the challenges it faces. He said that the Central Government has attached the highest importance to our growth being inclusive in nature. Unless the States move forward at a pace that is adequate to the challenges that we face, we cannot claim that we have delivered inclusive growth, he added. The PM implored the States to give special emphasis on increasing agricultural productivity.
The Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Shri Prithviraj Chavan in his address said that regular interaction between the Chief Secretaries of the States and the Government of India is very important for better synergy and convergence in approach. He emphasized on various initiatives of DoPT and DARPG in the fields of personnel management and administrative reforms where States need to work in tandem with the Central Government. He further said that capacity building of Government functionaries needs special attention for optimum performance.
The Cabinet Secretary Shri K.M Chandrashekhar delivered the welcome address in which he mentioned that the Conference would be useful for Chief Secretaries of States Governments to be updated not only on scientific and technological developments, but also on the broad contours of national policies in select areas that are of immediate relevance. Secretary, Department of Administrative Reforms, Public Grievances and Pension, Shri R.C. Mishra proposed a vote of thanks at the inaugural event.