Posted Date: 21/02/2013
All India N.R Congress, Puducherry 2nd State Level Conference
February 20, 2013, Puducherry

Puducherry was liberated from the French rule in 1954 and merged with the Indian Union in 1962 and became an Union Territory. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, assured that its unique identity will be preserved at any cost since it is the “Window of French Culture.” Being a champion of democracy, he enabled a legislature with 30 elected representatives. This has been reiterated by subsequent Prime Ministers, Mrs.Indira Gandhi and Mr. Rajiv Gandhi, during their visits to Puducherry.
The Union Territory, which had been under the direct control of the President of India had been receiving 70% of its budget as grants from the centre, has seen a progressive decline in center’s share which slumped to a net 17% in 2011-12. The Union Territory also has opened its own Bank Account in 2006-2007 at the insistence of the Planning Commission and was forced to manage its finances mainly from its own revenue or through loans from open market upto 27% of the total budgetary estimates. At present, the loan has swelled upto `.4,040/- crores and the annual interest stands at about `.400/- crores. For the present financial year, the centre has permitted the Government of Pondicherry to avail a loan of `.500/- crores which was slashed down to `.300/- crores subsequently. Despite having a separate account, the Union Territory has been denied of its shares from the center’s tax revenues, which is extended only for full-fledged States.

Such unilateral moves have complicated the fiscal management of this tiny Union Territory, which has neither major natural resources for exploitation nor adequate scope for rapid industrialization. The rationale that Union Territories are funded liberally has now been belied.
Being an Union Territory, the Chief Secretary, the Secretaries and Inspector General of Police (IAS & IPS cadre) are deployed by the Union Home Ministry. Being at the mercy of the centre; they are more loyal to the Lieutenant Governor than to the elected representatives; many are reluctant to extend co-operation to the Union Territory Administration in the implementation of welfare schemes to the people. At times, they even supersede the decisions of the cabinet and orders approved by the Lt. Governor, who is the Administrator.
The Lieutenant Governor of Union Territory of Puducherry enjoys more power than the Governor of a full-fledged state; the legislative assembly cannot legislate on its own; nor the administration can create posts or frame recruitment rules without the approval of Union Home Ministry. Even the Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ recruitments for Puducherry are vested with the Union Public Service Commission. And its judicial matters are within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
It is unfortunate that the budgetary proposals of Puducherry are linked to the Union Budget and the Union Territory has to wait for the approval of the Home Ministry before presenting it before its Legislative Assembly. To make matters worse, the major components of expenditure are decided by the officials of the Home Ministry who hardly have knowledge of the local conditions.
Of late, the interference of the Union Home Ministry in the allocation of portfolios to the IAS Officers, has raised a very fundamental question - whether the Union Territory is to be administered by an elected Government or is it an arm of the Union Home Ministry.
The sinister designs of certain vested interests, taking umbrage under “the Rules of Business”, to run a parallel/proxy administration through the IAS Officers, reminds us that Political authoritarianism of the British slavery days are still persisting. If unchecked, it will not only destroy the fabric of democracy but also undermine the federal structure of the nation itself. At a time when voice for more autonomy to states is gaining momentum, such acts, can only be deemed retrograde.
The denial of the adequate of financial, social, political and administrative powers, coupled to the gross infringement on the day – day administrative affairs has angered the people of Puducherry; they are sore that their elected representatives are denied the democratic rights of governance and the Union Territory is being treated as an extension of the Union Home Ministry, thus rendering the people’s choice as “mere figure-heads”. Their pride is hurt and self respect is dented. A legislature for a Union Territory is superfluous; A Union Territory with a legislature is anachronistic in a democracy.
On becoming a full-fledged state, Puducherry stands to gain the following:-
-Have an authoritative legislature and a collaborative administration
-Have a Planning Commission, a Public Service Commission for catching the local talents and a Bench of the High Court
-Can demand its share from Central Revenue due for any full-fledged state

-Can seek funds directly from the various ministries of the Government of India instead of routing through the Home Ministry
-Can approach International Funding Agencies like World Bank and World Trade Organisation directly for obtaining grants or soft loans
-Can enjoy full freedom in finalizing the Budget Proposals satisfying the aspirations of the people
-Can become self-reliant and stand erect with self respect
Sensing the mood of the people and comprehending the need of the hour, the All India N. R. Congress (AINRC) is of the firm opinion that “attaining full statehood” is the only solution to assuage the wounded psyche of the people and restore their pride.
The Legislative Assembly of Puducherry, led by the different Chief Ministers of different parties at various times has unanimously demanded “the full statehood” more than eleven times. And all the political parties, both national and regional have expressed their support and solidarity for full statehood demand.
Fortunately, the legitimacy of the demand for statehood has been acknowledged and approved by the Government of India also. Former Prime Ministers of India Shri.P.V.Narasimha Rao, Shri.H.D. Deve Gowda and Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee have responded favourably whenever this demand was presented before them. Mr. L.K. Advani, the then Home Minister and Mr. M.L. Khurana, the then Minister for Parliamentary Affairs have informed the Lok Sabha that the Union Territory of Pondicherry would be given Statehood.
In pursuance of their assertion, the Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Home Ministry headed by Mrs. Sushma Swaraj has visited Pondicherry in 2006, held discussions with Chief Minister and legislators and recommended in its report (121) submitted to the Parliament the conferment of the Statehood with special status. With the all the spade work having been done, now, it is the duty of the Central Government to bring a constitutional amendment conferring Statehood. The historical moment is just one step away.
In these circumstances, in deference to the wishes of the people of Puducherry and render effective service to people through an efficient governance, ALL INDIA N. R CONGRESS demands that the Central Government confers full statehood on the Union Territory Puducherry immediately in the ensuing budget session of Parliament itself. The AINRC also appeals to all the political parties, Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) to help achieve the demand by extending their unstinted co-operation and support within and outside the Parliament.