The Telangana government has decided to skip a meeting of Finance Ministers from across the country for a second time, even as the Andhra Pradesh government was all set to host it in Amaravati on Monday.
The meeting was called to discuss the terms of reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission.
Telangana had also skipped the first meeting hosted in Thiruvananthapuram despite an invitation by Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.
“The Telangana government is not taking part in the finance ministers’ meeting in Vijayawada on May 7,” Telangana Finance Minister Eatala Rajender told TOI, offering no further comment.
This also came days after Thomas Isaac called on his Andhra Pradesh counterpart, Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, in Vijayawada.
Speaking to reporters, the Kerala Finance Minister said that the southern states could potentially lose up to Rs 8,000 crore, if the ToR were implemented.
"The southern states will lose heavily with the ToR. The Prime Minister wants to compensate us with incentive clauses. However, this contributes only to 2% or 3% of total devolution," he had said.
"Ramakrishnudu will submit a memorandum to the Centre after the conclusion of the conclave. The finance ministers of several states have come forward to attend the conclave and they are trying to garner the support of other states too," Isaac added.
The Kerala Finance Minister also said that it was not only the southern states, which would be affected.
“Not only southern states, but some more in other parts of the country would suffer similar consequences due to the terms of reference of the finance panel and it’s time for all the states to come together to oppose the Centre’s move,” Isaac told reporters.
The proposed meeting by Andhra Pradesh's ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is the first attempt to rally the states since it pulled out of the BJP-led central government and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the demand for special category to the state.
The Kerala government on April 10 held a meeting of the finance ministers of the southern states, which demanded amendments to the terms of reference.
The 15th Finance Commission is a body that determines how the tax revenue collected by the Centre is distributed among the states.
Several southern states have voiced their opposition against the ‘unjust’ ToR, arguing that it will end up penalising them rather than rewarding them for their achievements.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi rejected the allegations of southern states that the ToR of the Commission were biased against them and said it would benefit states that took population control measures.