August 1, 2018
Amit Mitra lashes out at Centre for ‘attempting to control’ Finance Commission’s ToR
State Finance minister Amit Mitra made a scathing attack at the Centre for its “attempt” to control the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the Fifteenth Finance Commission. This comes when there would be a loss of Rs 35,849 crore for Bengal, if the 2011 census is used as TOR of the Finance Commission.
He was speaking in the state Assembly on Tuesday, during discussion over deprivation by the Centre in allocation of funds to the state government. A resolution was brought in the Assembly in this connection, in which the issue of the TOR of the Finance Commission has come up.
Amit Mitra said this is the first time when there has been attempts of the Centre in controlling the TOR of the Finance Commission, as it has been stated that “the Commission shall use the population data of 2011 while making its recommendation”.
He said: “It would lead to a loss of Rs 35,849 crore between 2020 to 2025 if the Fifteenth Finance Commission gives its recommendations on the basis of the 2011 census. In between 2020-21 and 2024-25, the state government will have to pay Rs 36,510 crore to clear its debt.”
The population share in Bengal, which was 8.16 percent in 1971, had come down to 7.67 percent in 2011.
He further said that it has been stated that the commission will examine whether revenue deficit grants would be provided at all. “This shows that it is direct intervention in a statutory body,” he said.
He further stated that there has also been steps to introduce surge charges and cess in most cases, as the state government doesn’t get its devolution from it. But in case of tax, there has to be devolution of Central tax to the states.
This comes when almost all the political parties in Bengal had demanded enhancement of devolution of Central taxes to the states from 42 percent to 50 percent before the Fifteenth Finance Commission, during its visit in Bengal.