Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalithaa on Friday took up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi a slew of issues concerning her state, ranging from inter-state river disputes to the GST rollout, besides the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
Jayalalithaa presented a detailed memorandum to Modi during their 50-minute luncheon meeting at her Poes Garden residence in Chennai.
She called for retrieval of Katchatheevu islet from Sri Lanka, besides stressing on India’s role to ensure welfare of Lankan Tamils.
The chief minister sought central intervention in matters like the Cauvery and Mullaperiyar disputes with Karnataka and Kerala respectively.
In the memorandum, which was released by the state government, Jayalalithaa demanded that the Centre should immediately form the Cauvery Management Board and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee for implementing the final award given by the disputes tribunal.
On Karnataka’s proposed dam across river Cauvery at Mekedatu, which Jayalalithaa said was “in violation" of the final award, she urged the prime minister to advise that the state not to proceed with the project without Tamil Nadu’s concurrence.
She also raised the Mullaperiyar issue in which her government had succeeded in a court case for raising the storage level to 142 feet.
Jayalalithaa said there could be a “security threat" to the dam structure and its appurtenant structures “from unruly mobs against whom the Kerala Police, instead of taking action, are acting as mute spectators". “It is, therefore, imperative to deploy the Central Industrial Security Force to guard the Mullaperiyar Dam and its appurtenant structures," she said.
On the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Jayalalithaa expressed “concern" about the impact the rollout will have on state autonomy, besides the “huge permanent revenue loss".
She recalled having suggested a “radical approach" where levy, collection and appropriation of the substitutes for VAT, Central Excise Duty and Service Tax within a state could be delegated completely to the state machinery, with the central machinery focusing on inter-state taxation.
She said a manufacturing state like Tamil Nadu will “permanently lose substantial revenue" if GST is implemented, due to the shift of levy from the point of origin to the point of destination. The loss due to GST could also be due to phasing out of Central Sales Tax and transfer of input tax credit on inter-state sales and inter-state stock transfers to the destination states, Jayalalithaa said.
Due to the difficulty in fixing even nominally high revenue neutral rates, Tamil Nadu’s revenue loss under GST would be around Rs9270 crore, she said.
“Tamil Nadu reiterates the need for a constitutionally mandated independent compensation mechanism for full (100%) compensation of revenue losses suffered by the states for a period of not less than five years," she said.
Jayalalithaa demanded that petroleum and petroleum products be kept out of GST purview.
On the Lankan Tamils problem, an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu, she said the process of securing right to self- determination “through devolvement of democratic decentralisation by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka should be the spring board for Sri Lankan Tamils to eventually realise the aspiration of Tamil Eelam".
She “strongly urged" the Centre to take all possible steps to ensure that this process of democratic decentralisation, which was “integral to the survival of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, is expedited".
As a “leader in the region and as a champion of human rights and democracy," she hoped India will decisively take a bold stand in support of the much-discriminated against and long-suffering Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka.
Jayalalithaa urged the Centre “to take necessary measures to bring to book those in Sri Lanka who had perpetrated the genocide on innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka". “Government of India should take the initiative in this regard in appropriate international fora like the United Nations Human Rights Council," she added.
She also reiterated her demand for the retrieval of Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974 to address the fishermen’s issue, besides seeking comprehensive “special package for diversification of fisheries" and assistance for mid-sea fish processing park.
On power sector, Jayalalithaa said ministry of power should complete a bidding process “at the earliest" to allow the state to commence the 4000 MW Cheyyur Ultra-mega power project. She also called for speedy completion of inter-regional transmission lines.