States may get sops for pol­lu­tion con­trol

DNA (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - An­jul To­mar an­jul.to­mar@dnain­dia.net

New Delhi: States are likely to be given in­cen­tives for pol­lu­tion con­trol, said 15th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion chair­man NK Singh in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with DNA. This comes amid a rag­ing de­bate over the causes of pol­lu­tion in Delhi and other cities.

“One of the is­sue is whether it will be part of your de­vo­lu­tion for­mula or should it come as part of the con­di­tional grant. And should you broaden the cri­te­ria to in­clude not only for­est but en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment where apart from the for­est you also bring in the com­po­nent of pol­lu­tion as one of the el­e­ments,” Singh said.

This is for the first time that the pol­lu­tion is be­ing con­sid­ered as one of the cri­te­ria for fi­nal­is­ing the states’ share in cen­tral taxes and grants. The Com­mis­sion is con­sid­er­ing broad­en­ing the cri­te­ria to in­clude en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment where apart from for­est as one of the de­cid­ing fac­tors for the de­vo­lu­tion of taxes.

The Com­mis­sion is mulling the two-three modal­i­ties for in­clud­ing the broader is­sue of en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment as a cri­te­ria in­stead of just for­est cover.

One of the is­sue is whether it will be part of your de­vo­lu­tion for­mula or should it come as part of the con­di­tional grant. NK Singh, chair­man, 15th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion

The last Fi­nance Com­mis­sion gave 7.5% weigh­tage for for­est cover.

“One of the modal­i­ties is to build it in the de­vo­lu­tion for­mula it­self like last fi­nance com­mis­sion made it 7.5% and other way is to make it a con­di­tional grant,” Singh said, adding, “But whether to make it state spe­cific or not we are still de­bat­ing var­i­ous op­tions.”

The 15th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion is plan­ning to re­work the for­mula that gave weigh­tage to the for­est cover. The com­mis­sion feels that it is a nar­row view and the cri­te­ria should be broad­ened to in­clude pol­lu­tion and other re­lated fac­tors.

“Yes, I can see that pol­lu­tion now in­creas­ingly a com­pelling fac­tor and this is not just a metro phe­nom­e­non. Patna is one of the most pol­luted cities in the coun­try. Yes­ter­day, the pol­lu­tion in Patna was the high­est. So the phe­nom­e­non of pol­lu­tion is not only a metro phe­nom­e­non. This is some­thing we can­not over­look when we look at the broader is­sue of en­vi­ron­ment,” said Singh.

The state share in cen­tral taxes is dis­trib­uted among states based on a for­mula. The last fi­nance com­mis­sion used for­est cover, apart from pop­u­la­tion, area and in­come dis­tance as cri­te­ria to de­cide the de­vo­lu­tion of taxes to the states.

The cur­rent com­mis­sion has com­mis­sioned some stud­ies by Delhi-head­quar­tered The En­ergy and Re­sources In­sti­tute (TERI) and For­est Re­search In­sti­tute (FRI), Dehradun.

“Stud­ies have been in­sti­tuted on pol­lu­tion, ur­ban­i­sa­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion and is­sues con­nected with or­derly ur­ban­i­sa­tion, clean air. And we will be look­ing at th­ese is­sues,” Singh said.

“The fact re­mains that if you look at the for­eign in­vest­ment de­ci­sions of any for­eign com­pa­nies,” he said.

Full re­port on dnain­dia.net

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