‘Inflation, unemployment, farmers & women’s issues most pressing issues of country now’
Arvind Sawant, Lok Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader, was in a conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, as part of Visionary Talk series
Lok Sabha MP and Shiv Sena leader Arvind Sawant engaged in an interesting conversation with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during a webcast as part of the Visionary Talk series held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.
During the chat, Sawant spoke of Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking states to adhere to the spirit of cooperative federalism and reducing taxes in line with the excise duty reduction by the Centre to bring down prices of petrol and diesel.
According to Sawant, every state has its own budget and a major revenue comes from sales tax, which now has culminated into GST and is going to the Centre. He said the government was withholding a huge chunk of GST from states and this cannot be called governance.
“The government is not giving its slice of Rs 26,500 crore of GST to states,” he said.
Speaking on a range of issues, Sawant said inflation, unemployment, farmers’ issues and women’s issues are the major and most pressing issues the country. He also raised alarm about the incidents of rapes happening across the country. “We are miserably failing in governance.”
Crediting Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for efficient management of Covid-19 in the state and setting up of task forces, the Shiv Sena MP said the chief minister has set an example in Asia by setting up field hospitals within 48-72 hours.
“It was his vision, decision, and implementation that within 48-72 hours hospitals were set up with all amenities, and 2000 beds were created. It is outstanding that he is the first person to create a task force of expert doctors and for children.”
Regarding the Mumbai Coastal Road project, Sawant said 55% of work was already done and the project should be completed by end of 2024.
Asked to comment on BJP’s statement that recently started Mumbai Metro lines 7 and 2A are its gift to Mumbaikars, Sawant said the government is in a continuous process and if BJP chooses to say so, it should not forget that Shiv Sena was its ally in earlier government also.
He said between 1995-1999, Shiv Sena was instrumental in the construction of 55 flyovers in Maharashtra besides completing its dream projects -Bandra -Worli Sea Link and Mumbai -Pune Expressway.
Talking about ‘The Kashmir Files’, Sawant said it was a painful reminder of what happened to Kashmiri Pandits. “It is only rhetoric. What has the Prime Minister provided to Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir? While we appreciate the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, where is the beauty of Kashmiriyat, Hindustaniyat, love, affection and healthy relations and no discrimination for being a Hindu or a Muslim.”
Expressing confidence at Shiv Sena retaining power in BMC post municipal elections he explained that as per MMC Act 1888, the municipality is supposed to run dispensaries/ health centers. However, BMC is not only running hospitals but super-specialty hospitals where people from all over India come for treatment. In addition, he said BMC has set up a hospital and college when it is the duty of the state government to take financial support from the central government. He further added that to augment water supply to Mumbai, BMC created Upper Vaitarna Lake with its own funds which now supplies 24x7 water to Mumbai. “This is the vision of Uddhav Thackeray,” he said.
Sawant also said that Mumbai’s sewerage system built by the British for its population at that time too has been enhanced by Uddhav Thackeray keeping in view its current density of population. He credited the CM and his team of health minister, Rajesh Tope, and others for having done outstanding work during Covid-19.
On being asked if MVA government will make a comeback in the 2024 parliamentary elections, he said the MVA government was working well and cohesively. “Very good cabinet decisions have been taken by the government and also implemented,” he said.
While giving his views on the Centre using federal agencies against the opposition, Sawant said this has been done for the last 15 years and done since the time Congress was in power. He said like the central government, the media too is discriminatory.
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