Agreeing that the dispute between the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government over the payment of revenue deficit grant for over five years now still remains unresolved, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it was for the 15th Finance Commission to take a call on the issue and not the Finance Ministry.
She asked the state government to discuss the issue with the 15th Finance Commission and let the latter decide. "It is unresolved. But it's for the 15th Finance Commission to decide, not the Finance Ministry. I said this also to the state government when the Finance Minister met me," Sitharaman said at a press conference in Vijayawada on Wednesday evening.
During his recent trip to New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy submitted a memorandum to the Centre stating that a sum of Rs 18,830.87 crore was still overdue in the form of revenue deficit grant to the state.
Since the bifurcation of the state in 2014, the Centre agreed to bridge the revenue gap but pegged the amount at Rs 4,117.89 crore for the financial year 2014-15. whereas the state government, citing a CAG report, claimed the amount was Rs 22,948.76 crore.
Even out of the Rs 4,117.89 crore, the Centre so far has paid only Rs 3,979.50 crore, leaving a gap of Rs 138.39 crore, according to the state government.
"I don't know about the amount, and what is unresolved is something which the Ministry has to work, considering that it was based on the 14th Finance Commission's recommendations. The 14th Finance Commissionâ€™s term is over.So it is an issue which has to be discussed," Sitharaman said, replying to questions.
Maintaining that she was not questioning the state governmentâ€™s claims on the issue, the Union Finance Minister remarked, "I don't know what kind of solutions I can offer. This is something which I have told the Minister concerned who met me to speak about it."
She pointed out that the one-year report of the 15th Finance Commission has already come and was being implemented.
"And, the 15th FC will give for the rest of the 4-5 years.You are talking about a recommendation of the 14th FC, so it has to be discussed," Sitharaman added.