Ahead of next Union Budget, finance minister Arun Jaitley today hinted at a cut in grants from the Centre to states, saying the states will have to stand on their own by generating resources for development and other schemes.
"Gone are the days when the Centre would provide money and the states would run the government. Today every state has to stand on its own," Jaitley said during a public meeting here. Jaitley said the economies of the states in the country depend on investments made by the investors, who, besides looking for profits, also create employment.
"How does the economy of a state work? Investments are required for it and investors want profit. Besides looking for profit, the investors create employment and pays taxes to the government. The state government gets money which it can use for development and make schemes for the poor people," he said.
Talking about Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley said the state has huge potential in tourism, water resources and handicrafts sectors which has not been fully tapped so far.
"Jammu and Kashmir has huge potential. Kashmir valley has huge potential in tourism of all kinds - be it sightseeing, religious tourism, adventure or historic places. The state has so much water and so much electricity can be generated that it can be sent to other state," he said.
The Union Minister, who professed to be an avid collector of Kashmiri handicrafts, said this sector alone can generate income for the state as well as employment for the artisans. "I have travelled around the world and I have no hesitation to say that what Kashmiri artisans weave is best in the world," he said.
Jaitley said the state has not been able to benefit from these resources.
"There are so many countries in the world where main source of economy is tourism," he said. Earlier, Jaitley had said that several more steps are required to create even more positive environment (for economy) not only by the Central government but also by the state governments and several other institutions, which include the Opposition parties in Parliament.
Without making a mention of Article 370 of the constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, he said sufferings of the common man have been delinked from the issue of powers falling in the domain of the Centre or the state.
"Under the constitution of the country, what will be the subjects in the jurisdiction of the Centre and what will be under the jurisdiction of the state... 67 years have passed but now the problems of the common man have been de-linked from that debate.
"The problems of common man have no relation to which powers are with the Centre and which powers lay with the state. When the floods hit Kashmir, did any one care about the powers?" he asked.
Jaitley said the common man, especially in Kashmir and hilly areas of Jammu, was concerned about how his life will be secure.
"How does he get safety? where will he be heard in case of injustice to him? He is concerned about economic development and how to improve his quality of living," he said.