Telangana Finance Minister Etela Rajender will not take part in the south Indian Finance Ministers meeting, hosted by the Kerala government on Tuesday.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac had invited his counterparts from the southern states to discuss the Terms of Reference in the 15th Finance Commission.
The ToR, according to the southern state leaders, does great injustice to the well-performing southern states, which fared better in controlling population, as compared to their northern counterparts.
The 15th Finance Commission is a body that determines how much tax money collected by the Centre is allocated to various states in the country. Most south Indian states have voiced their opposition to the Commission because the Terms of Reference have recommended using the 2011 Census to calculate population as against the 1971 Census, which was used by previous commissions.
It is learnt that since the invitation had come, the Telangana government had been skeptical of attending the meeting.
When TNM had contacted the minister earlier, he had said, “The CM has not given a green signal yet.”
While TN Finance Minister O Paneerselvam will be abstaining from the meeting, the government will be sending a representative at least.
However, the Telangana government has decided not to send any representative to the meet.
This stand by the government is peculiar as Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has attacked the BJP government, and also announced of a third front with the alliance of Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee.
While several southern state leaders like DMK working president, MK Stalin, Andhra Finance Minister, Y Ramakrishnudu, Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramiah and Kerala Finance Minister, Thomas Isaac had strongly opposed the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission, the Telangana government chose to be mum on it and was rather focused on preparing the battle field for the 2019 general elections.
With the Telangana Finance Minister refraining from attending the meeting, the meeting will be attended by representatives and ministers of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.
The Finance Minister of Karnataka is the Chief Minister himself, and since he is busy with the election campaigning, Karnataka Agriculture Minister Byre Gowda will be representing the government.
From the southern states, Siddaramaiah was the only Chief Minister to write a strong letter detailing why the ToR does injustice to the southern states.
The meeting will be held in Thiruvananthapuram.
Speaking to TNM earlier, Kerala Minister Isaac had said that the intention of the meeting was to have an exchange of ideas among the states.
He said, “We may not even have a common agenda, but we will be exchanging our views. It’s a platform to raise views, a platform to raise concerns. Our intention is not to project it as a political issue, we have not invited political parties for the meeting, but state governments.”