South India FMs to meet on 15th Finance Commission in Kerala on Tuesday
Thiruvananthapuram: Finance ministers of the southern states would meet at Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday at a conference convened by Kerala to discuss the concerns and views on the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission.
Talking to reporters, Kerala finance minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said the changes in the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission, that would adversely affect the southern states, has not become a debate in the country.
“The objective of the conference was to highlight the issue and make it a national agenda for debate”, Isaac said. Slamming the Centre, he said the ToR was against the federal co-operative structure of the country. “We will not allow to destroy the federal co-operative structure of the nation,” he said.
The ToR has recommended using the 2011 census to calculate population for allocation of union tax revenue in place of 1971 census, which was used by previous finance commissions. This would adversely affect the southern states, he said.
There was uncertainty over the incentives to be given to states, he said. There were several issues that have to be discussed at the national level. The meeting would be a first step towards that, he said.
The Centre should provide freedom to the 15th Finance Commission to hear the states, Isaac said. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has confirmed participation in the conference, which would be inaugurated by Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, he said.