Non-BJP ministers ask Centre not to penalise performing states

The second conclave of finance ministers from seven non-BJP ruled states in Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, on Monday urged the union government not to penalise performing states and to respect cooperative federalism.

While AP and Puducherry were represented by their Chief Ministers, Delhi sent its Deputy CM for the meeting.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said performing states should not be penalised with needless conditions. The Centre should respect cooperative federalism, he said, adding that the Central Government was violating constitutional norms and depriving states borrowing powers by fixing Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM). He said the Finance Commission should not consider 2011 population as base as it would deprive states of their powers and reduce the number of MP and MLA seats.

GST burden

V Narayanasamy, CM of Puducherry, said the central government has been trying to dictate terms to states. While allocating funds, the Centre argues that Delhi and Puducherry are union territories and not states but they are not spared from heavy taxes. He said the  Centre was not compensating the expenditure on welfare programmes. GST was a burden on union territories.

Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM, Delhi said the Centre has been violating the spirit of the Constitution and trying to take control of Delhi administration.

T M Thomas Issac, Minister for Finance, Kerala was also against using 2011 population as base for devolution of funds. His West Bengal counterpart Amit Mitra alleged that the Central Government is trying to squeeze the states for funds, violating the basics of federalism. He said that the Centre has stopped releasing funds for several national welfare programmes.

Reframe terms

Manpreet Singh, Finance Minister, Punjab said that industrial development in his state was hit due to sops given to special category states. He said that the Centre is trying to push its agenda on states. AP Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said the draft common memorandum, incorporating the common concerns of all participating states, will be submitted to the President of India, urging him to help reframe the terms of reference of 15th Finance Commission.

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