Pun­jab, 5 other states pe­ti­tion Pres­i­dent on 15th fi­nance panel: ‘Vi­o­lates fed­eral norms’

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HTPUNJAB - Press Trust of In­dia

NEW DELHI : Six non-bjp ruled states to­day pe­ti­tioned Pres­i­dent Ram Nath Kovind against the terms of the 15th fi­nance com­mis­sion for de­cid­ing the share of states in taxes col­lected by the Cen­tre, and said that they vi­o­late the fed­eral prin­ci­ple as well as in­fringe upon the Con­sti­tu­tion.

In a mem­o­ran­dum signed by chief min­is­ter and fi­nance min­is­ters of Andhra Pradesh, Ker­ala, West Ben­gal, Puducherry, Pun­jab and Delhi, the states op­posed some of the terms of ref­er­ence (TOR) say­ing they “vi­o­late the fed­eral prin­ci­ple as en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion, erode au­ton­omy of states, and bring sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial hard­ship to all states”.

Stat­ing that some of the TOR are “qual­i­ta­tively” dif­fer­ent from those of pre­vi­ous fi­nance com­mis­sions, the mem­o­ran­dum said changes will re­strict the states from ful­fill­ing their Con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tions.

The fi­nance com­mis­sion, which ev­ery five years rec­om­mends a ra­tio in which the tax money col­lected by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is to be di­vided among the states, has be­gun work and will sub­mit its re­port by Oc­to­ber 2019.

The 15th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion, headed by NK Singh, has also been asked to pro­pose mea­sur­able per­for­mance-based in­cen­tives for states which have made efforts to ex­pand and deepen the tax net, slowed pop­u­la­tion growth, pro­moted ease of do­ing busi­ness and saved money by adopt­ing di­rect ben­e­fit trans­fer where gov­ern­ment dole is paid via bank ac­counts of users.

Be­sides, it has been asked to rec­om­mend in­cen­tives for states which have been able to con­trol or elim­i­nate in­cur­ring ex­pen­di­ture on pop­ulist mea­sures.

The key point of difference is the TOR ask­ing the panel to take the cen­sus of 2011 as the ba­sis for pop­u­la­tion data in­stead of 1971 cen­sus which was the ba­sis of recommendations till the 13th Fi­nance Com­mis­sion, for de­vo­lu­tion of funds. The pre­vi­ous, 14th fi­nance com­mis­sion in­tro­duced that idea in a small way for the first time. It gave a weigh­tage of 10% for Cen­sus 2011 data and re­sulted in hurt­ing states like Tamil Nadu which had seen slower growth in pop­u­la­tion as com­pared to states like Bi­har.

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