Chief Minister V Narayanasamy wants the Centre to treat Puducherry as a "transgender". He made the startling comment while inaugurating a national seminar on 'emerging challenges of fiscal federalism in India' in the union territory.
Narayanasamy said that the current "whimsical approach" used in treating Puducherry as a 'State' for some schemes and as 'Union Territory' for others was "helpless".
"For the purpose of GST and other schemes the central government is treating Puducherry as a State and for others as a Union Territory. We cannot consequently go this way or the other, " he said.
He claimed the Centre was ignoring Puducherry in allocation of grants to support the territorial budget besides cutting down the grant from 30 per cent to 26 per cent.
Referring to 'obstacles' faced in implementing free rice scheme, he said, "Lack of Centre's adequate support and administrative hurdles from Lt Governor had been embarrassing us."
He also pointed out that the compensation on account of implementation of the GST from the Centre was due to Puducherry for August and September. Narayanasamy also expressed concern over the fact that the central government had not included Puducherry in the 15th Central Finance Commission, even though newly formed union territories of Jammu and Kashmir had been made members.
Responding to the CM's comments, Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Friday said that the central government is "fully sensitive" to the needs of its UT.
Speaking to ANI over the phone on the same, Bedi said, "It is because of the Centre's clear, measurable and calibrated and monitored guidance and hand-holding that the Puducherry administration is being able to provide critical services to its people."
She said, "The onus on Puducherry administration also to plug all leakages and prioritise its expenditure to serve the real needy."
Narayanasamy has made disparaging comments in the past too. At the beginning of November he called Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi a "demon" while adressing an event on the 35th death anniversary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
"People have faith in us. They have faith in Congress its alliance partners and that is why we are in power. We will do good things for people. And that is why people believed in us and voted for us. So we are bound to perform and do good things for them. We are ready also to do good things. I and my cabinet colleges work day and night to give good things to people--But a Demon has been put here, who does not let us work," he had said.
The Chief Minister blamed Bedi for creating hindrances in the implementation of the schemes introduced by the government.
(With inputs from agencies)