Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu on Wednesday said the Terms of Reference (ToR) prescribed by the 15th Finance Commission are “discriminatory” against states.
“The discussion over the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission should happen all over the country, as they are discriminatory against states. If they are implemented as it is, progressive states would suffer badly. A conspiracy is being hatched to damage the basic financial structure of such states,” he said on the sidelines of the Collectors’ conference here.
Furthermore, Ramakrishnudu claimed that in this context, the Centre should not deprive the states of their rights.
“Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, and Karnataka together will suffer Rs 1,14,062 crore worth losses. We have sent requests to the Centre and organised conclaves of finance ministers, but it is sad that the Centre hasn’t responded. Seven states have been represented at the recent Conclave of Finance Ministers held in Amaravati. However, more states may participate in the next conclave in New Delhi,” he added.
Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ramakrishnudu highlighted that under the leadership of the former, states lost all their privileges.
“Shri Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat demanded 50 percent devolution of funds to states. We all hoped that states would get more powers if he became Prime Minister. But after this happened, states had to lose their rights. It is not acceptable for Prime Minister Modi to have a particular stand as chief minister and act differently after becoming Prime Minister,” he said.
The state finance minister also urged all political parties to respond on the issue, keeping politics aside.
“Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, but tomorrow, someone else may take over. No matter who is in power, the basic structure of the Constitution must not be violated. Nobody has the right to dent the federal structure. The responsibility is on every state to protect its rights,” he opined.
Earlier, objections were raised by the finance ministers of multiple states, who alleged that the ToR prescribed would have a detrimental impact on fund allocation.
Ramakrishnudu, at a conclave of finance ministers held in Amaravati on Monday, had stated that the use of population from census 2011 by the 15th Finance Commission with a greater weight for determining the allocation of funds to the States would cause great injustice to the States. He also claimed that this approach would penalise States which have shown declining fertility rates and lower population growth over the past four decades.
Moreover, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, while highlighting the impact of Goods and Services Tax (GST)-related changes, opined that the states needed to take care of power subsidies, food security and facilities for their people, adding that the ToR acts as an impediment.
Meanwhile, the 15th Finance Commission earlier today constituted an advisory council to advise and assist them on any issue or subject related to the ToR prescribed by it. (ANI)