New Delhi: The newly-constituted 15th Finance Commission held first meeting on Monday and decided to involve think-tanks in drawing up its report that will primarily deal with devolution of revenue between the Centre and states.
The Commission, headed by former Planning Commission member N K Singh, also discussed the terms of reference of the panel and other procedural issues, a Finance Ministry statement said.
The meeting was attended by former Economic Affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das and other members of the Commission, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri and Ramesh Chand.
“We covered a number of issues which need to be addressed. We went over the terms of reference (ToR) which have been given to us by the President and the best ways of addressing those wide-ranging ToR, procedures for consultation, the broad structure of ensuring that all stakeholders are fully consulted, particularly in respect of state governments,” Singh said after the meeting here.
It will be the endeavour of the Commission to reach out to many research organisations in different parts of the country to suitably address the ToR, he said.
“If we look at the terms of reference, these are two frontal issues in the ToR. If you look at Article 280 of the Constitution, Article 281 and Article 282 are precisely on those kinds of issues… the Commission would need to study, analyse, examine and consult before it comes to any conclusion,” he said.
Article 280C relates to other issues that cover a wide gamut of subjects that have been very carefully considered before they are referred to the Commission, he said.
On devolution, Singh said, “We did not discuss that, its far too premature to comment on an issue of that kind. That will require very careful deliberations and consideration.”
The statement added: “The Commission was cognisant that it has been assigned wide-ranging ToR which needed to be suitably addressed. Towards this objective, it was felt that wide-ranging consultations with all stakeholders, including various ministries of the Union government, all state governments, local bodies, panchayats and political parties of each state government, needed to be expeditiously initiated.”
The panel is keen to seek academic inputs from and have interactions with leading think-tanks and domain knowledge experts, which is expected to assist the Commission in its job.
The first meeting of the panel approved the setting up of its office at Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan on Janpath in New Delhi.