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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday and submitted a 29-point memorandum, detailing several demands of the State. This was her first visit after her second consecutive victory in the Assembly polls. She met with her party’s 50 MPs (including those in the Rajya Sabha) before going to Mr. Modi’s Race Course Road residence.
The Prime Minister, sources said, congratulated her on her victory, accepted her memorandum and also dispatched two Ministers, Nirmala Sitharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan, to meet her.
While differences between Tamil Nadu and the Centre on the GST Bill remain, the Centre is trying to reach out to her. The AIADMK has 13 members in the Rajya Sabha. Being a constitutional amendment, the GST Bill requires passage by a special majority in both Houses of Parliament.
Among the demands of Ms. Jayalalithaa were the formation of a Cauvery Management Board and a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee, restoration of water level at Mullaperiyar to 152 feet, and the interlinking of rivers.
Differences with Centre on GST
The memorandum also elaborated on the State’s continuing differences with the Centre on some aspects of the Goods and Services Tax Bill, expressing concern over the “huge permanent revenue loss it is likely to cause to a manufacturing and net exporting State like Tamil Nadu.” It also underlined the concern that the proposed legislation would impact the “fiscal autonomy” of the States.
The memorandum contended that the proposed GST Council jeopardised the autonomy of the States in fiscal matters, demanded that petroleum products be kept out of the GST and sought “a constitutionally mandated independent compensation mechanism for full compensation of revenue losses suffered by the States for a period of not less than five years.”
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman later discussed some of the demands of Ms. Jayalalithaa with her. “One of the demands was the extension of the industrial corridor between Vishakhapatnam and Thoothukudi. My suggestion was that we could extend a connection between Thoothukudi and Colachel port in order to facilitate trade in goods,” Ms Sitharaman said.
The State has also demanded the early commissioning of Unit-II of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The other key demands included the setting up of an All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in the State, along with addressing the issues related to NEET.