After several southern leaders like Siddaramaiah, MK Stalin and Thomas Isaac have spoken out against the injustice meted to the southern states by the Centre, the latest to join the bandwagon is Andhra Pradesh finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu.
The minister on Sunday said that the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission are detrimental to southern states.
Ramakrishnudu, in a press release, stated that the southern states would stand to lose substantial percentage of their revenues, and at the same time the revenue share of the Centre would increase.
The minister took serious exceptions to the Finance Commission being authorised to decide on the percentage of financial devolutions and grants-in-aid, taking 2011 Census as the basis for Central assistance, increase in Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a decrease in subsidies for programmes meant for the poor.
Slamming the Centre, he asked why the Centre didnâ€™t discuss the issue with the state government before finalizing the ToR of 15th finance commission.
Condemning the unilateral decision of the Centre, he said, â€śTaking unilateral decisions on such important issues is not proper on the part of the Central government.â€ť
â€śGoing by the Central Governmentâ€™s attitude, it appears that it wants to bring pressure on the Finance Commission, which is an autonomous body, to help North Indian States. The ToR of the latest Finance Commission proves this point,â€ť he said.
Condemning the non-inclusion of Special Category Status (SCS) in the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission, he said, â€śWe object to the omission of the Special Category Status (SCS) to Andhra Pradesh in the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission.â€ť
He further stated that all the issues pertaining to the ToR of 15th finance commission report would be discussed in the Southern State Finance Ministersâ€™ meet to be held on April 10 in Kerala.
Ramakrishnudu wrote, â€śThe 14th Finance Commission, on the one hand, claims that financial devolution from the Centre to States has been increased from 32 per cent to 42 per cent, and on the other, it has changed the ratio of Central assistance to some Centrally-sponsored programme from 90:10 to 60:40, which has placed a 30 per cent additional burden on the States.â€ť
He said that by accepting the 14th Finance Commissionâ€™s recommendations, the States are getting 2-4 per cent less revenue from the Union government when compared to the share allocated in the 13th Finance Commission.
â€śWe have asked for the revenue deficit to be calculated for the period before 14th Finance Commission but there was no response from the Centre.â€ť