PM Modi’s suggestion comes two days after a meeting of south Finance Ministers was held in Thiruvananthapuram over the Terms of Reference in the 15th Finance Commission.

PMs damage control Asks Finance Comm to incentivise states that controlled population
news Finance Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 14:55

In what may be seen as a move to appease and quell the growing opposition in the south over the Terms of Reference in the 15th Finance Commission, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday stated that the Union Government has suggested to the Commission to consider incentivising states that have worked at controlling their population.

Taking to Twitter, the PMO handle tweeted to say, “The Union Government has suggested to the Finance Commission to consider incentivizing States who have worked on population control. Thus, a state like Tamil Nadu, which has devoted a lot of effort, energy and resources towards population control would certainly benefit: PM”

In another tweet, the Prime Minister stated, “A baseless allegation is being made about the Terms of Reference of the 15th Finance Commission, being biased against certain states or a particular region: PM”

"Let me tell you our critics seem to have missed something. The Union government has suggested to the Finance Commission to consider incentivising states who have worked on population control. By this yardstick, states like Tamil Nadu, which has devoted a lot of efforts, energy and resources towards population control, would certainly benefit," Modi said after inaugurating a building of the Cancer Institute in Chennai.

His statement – the first since several leaders voiced their opposition to the ToRs – comes on a day when Prime Minister Modi was in Chennai to participate in the DefExpo and inaugurate four facilities at the Adyar Cancer Institute. It also comes amidst widespread protests in Chennai against the Centre over its alleged failure to set up the Cauvery Management Board, with a number of protesters waving black flags and releasing black balloons and chanting ‘Go Back Modi’.  

The suggestion to the 15th Finance Commission also comes two days after a meeting of south Finance Ministers was held in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. Hosted by Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, the conclave saw Karnataka’s Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, Andhra’s Finance Minister Yanamala Rama Krishnudu, and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy participate. While Telangana chose to skip the meet, Tamil Nadu’s Finance Minister O Panneerselvam failed to turn up, sending the state’s GST Commissioner instead.

The Finance Commission is a body that determines how the tax revenue collected by the Centre is allocated among the states. One of the major determinants to distribute these funds is population.  One of the main contentions southern states have with the ToR in the 15th Finance Commission is that the baseline has been shifted to the 2011 Census from the 1971 Census, which earlier commissions used. Those opposing this recommendation argue that changing it to the 2011 Census will penalise progressive states, which have worked hard to control their population, while rewarding those who have failed to bring down their population in the last 30 years.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had earlier told TNM that Tamil Nadu will be the worst affected by the ToR’s recommendation to use the 2011 Census. He said, “It is Tamil Nadu which is the worst affected by this as the population growth in the state is much less. The share of Tamil Nadu, if population is kept as the criteria, will be reduced from 7.59% to 6.04%. Andhra may lose around Rs 40,000 crore. Kerala, in a year, would lose around Rs 20,000- to Rs 30,000 crores.”

Following the meeting of the south Finance Ministers, Isaac had announced that a similar conclave would be held in Visakhapatnam with more states invited to participate. He also said that a joint memorandum would be drawn up, which would be then be submitted to the President to modify the Terms of Reference in the 15TH Finance Commission.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had slammed the opposition to the ToRs. In a Facebook post, Jaitley said, “The ToRs of 15 th FC rightly balance both the ‘needs’ represented by latest population and “progress towards population control” very well. There is no inherent bias or mandate in the ToRs of the 15 th FC which can be construed as discriminatory against the States which made good progress in population control,” Arun Jaitley had said earlier this week.

Read: First south Finance Ministers’ conclave in Tvm: Kerala, K'taka, Andhra slam Centre

‘There will be a public backlash in 2019’: Kerala FM to TNM on central funds to states

'Needless controversy': Jaitley dismisses concerns over 15th Finance Commission ToRs

 

 

 

 

 

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