Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan on Sunday questioned the population based formula for sharing tax revenues between states and asked if the Centre was going to use the 'success of south Indian states' against their own interests.
"Is the success of south Indian states going to be used against them by Union of India??? This article flags a genuine concern that population based formula for sharing tax revenues between states & Center would hurt south Indian states," (sic) Pawan tweeted.
The Jana Sena party chief also shared an article on The Wire, that argued that 'The 15th Finance Commission May Split Open Demographic Fault Lines Between South and North India.’
The article pointed out that the Commission was planning to use the Census population data of 2011 while making its recommendations, instead of the conventional 1971 Census.
The 1971 data had traditionally been used, as it was the year before aggressive family planning initiatives were taken up by the Central and state governments. It is also the determining data for the number of seats that are allocated to each state in the Lok Sabha.
Since 1971, while states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu managed to lower fertility rate and keep their population in check, states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and others considered to be in the 'Hindi belt' had overshot the stipulated norm set by India.
"Using 2011 data to allocate resources among states, above all else, is a stunning rebuke of success. Why would a country punish a state so severely for successfully lowering its fertility rate by sending girls to school? What is the message that India is trying to send to Tamil Nadu? Or, to Kerala?" the author of the article, RS Nilakantan asks.
Pawan Kalyan's tweet echoed a similar sentiment, and it was also discussed in a meeting of the Joint Fact Finding Committee (JFFC) in Hyderabad recently.
The 20-member committee was formed, following a call given by Pawan Kalyan, and said they aimed to fight against the injustice meted out to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, post bifurcation.
The issue had also come up during the meeting of the committee.
Speaking to TNM, Tara Krishnaswamy, a member of the committee, said, "I raised the issue on the first day and there was discussion on it. We debated the various potential aspects of the Finance Commission's decision, and each of us made statements pertaining to our refined areas."
As far as the fact-finding report itself is considered, Tara said, "The committee has looked into various aspects from finances to human development and economy to jobs. The idea is to look into the conflicting claims by political parties and find out the truth on behalf of citizens and present it to the citizens."
The final report is expected to be made public in the next 15 days.
A growing sentiment
This is not the first time that Pawan has spoken on the issue and neither is he the first prominent personality from the two Telugu states to voice this sentiment.
In January last year, Pawan had told a news channel that “The north-south divide is not between people but political class. Same rule has to be applied all over.”
“What we all in southern India feel that there is a political elite class of Delhi who want to run the entire country, having majority in Uttar Pradesh. People are rebelling against that thought,” he added.
He had also said that disrespect to 'sub-national identity' in a country like India, would create a fertile breeding grounds for separatist movements.
A day before Pawan Kalyan's latest tweet on the North-South divide, ruling TDP MP and an ally of the BJP, M Muralimohan, also alleged that people were tired of the 'indifferent' attitude of the Centre.
“We are contributing more to the Central pool in the form of taxes than any other state barring Maharashtra. Then why is the Union Government treating us in a step-motherly manner. We are being treated in an inhuman way in all aspects...Now, if the mindset of the Union Government does not change, all southern states might have to come together to form a separate entity,” the MP was quoted as saying.