The fiscal needs of each state would be individually assessed, 15th Finance Commission Chairman NK Singh told a delegation led by Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday. The 40-member delegation submitted a memorandum to the commission in New Delhi expressing their views about the panel’s terms of reference.
The delegation, which included members of Parliament from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said there was a need to balance how money is allocated to states that are less developed and states that are performing better.
“A progressive state like Tamil Nadu which has contributed greatly to India’s prosperity would certainly receive the commission’s careful consideration,” the 15th Finance Commission said in a statement. “Commission’s visit for the state of Tamil Nadu was finalised for end of September.”
The Finance Commission decides how taxes collected by the Centre should be distributed among the states on the basis of criteria such as per capita income, population, area and forest area. The terms of reference for the current panel say that it should use data from the 2011 Census – and not the 1971 Census as has been the norm – as the base year to determine how the revenue is divided. Southern states, which have controlled their population growth over the decades, fear that the new base year will harm their interests.
“Tamil Nadu has been implementing population control measures effectively over the years,” said Panneerselvam, who also holds the finance portfolio in the state cabinet, according to The Hindu. “We have also highlighted the loss incurred due to various natural disasters.”
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On April 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected the accusation that the Centre was biased against the southern states. “Our critics seems to have missed that the Union government has suggested to the Finance Commission to consider incentivising states who have worked on population control,” he said. “By this yardstick, a state like Tamil Nadu, which has devoted a lot of effort, energy and resources towards population control would certainly benefit.”