Call for chief minster conclave in Delhi next month

The national-level meeting is aimed at bringing together states, which are opposed to the Terms of Reference of the 15th Finance Commission led by N K Singh

Stepping up pressure on the BJP-led Centre over Finance Commission criteria in fund devolution ahead of Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, Opposition-ruled states are planning a conclave of Chief Ministers in the national capital in late October.

The national-level meeting is aimed at bringing together states, which are opposed to the Terms of Reference of the 15th Finance Commission led by N K Singh as they claim that it is detrimental to their interests and would end up losing central assistance.

The conclave is planned at a time when three BJP-ruled states Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan as well as Congress-ruled Mizoram will be going to Assembly polls.

The conclave and its outcome would also have the impact on upcoming Lok Sabha elections next year.

Sources said Finance Ministers in southern states and some north Indian states like Delhi have discussed the initial contours of the conclave and looking at Chief Ministers' programmes to finalise a date for the event.

With BJP-led state governments unlikely to attend the meeting during an election season, the Opposition parties are also trying to enlist the support of ruling parties in West Bengal, Punjab and Odisha.

The south Indian states have organised a series of conclaves in their states since April and now they want to take it to the national level to mount pressure. Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac and Andhra Pradesh Y Ramakrishnudu were among those attending the first conclave in Thiruvananthapuram in April.

Sources said JD(S)-Congress government in Karnataka is also in agreement with the move to hold an event in the capital.

Sources said they want Congress governments in states also to participate in the event as they find the terms and reference problematic for all in the country.

One of the objections raised by the states is about the change in the base point for revenue allocation from 1971 Census to 2011 Census as the base point for revenue allocation. Some of the states, especially from the south, claim that they have managed to arrest population growth and it should not be used to curtail their allocation.

The 15th Finance Commission earlier this month said that no state will be penalised for doing well on the demographic and economic front and that it will evolve a mechanism where no state is at a loss. 

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Call for chief minster conclave in Delhi next month

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