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Naveen’s arguments on 15th Finance Commission ToR has no base: Dharmendra

Bhubaneswar: Reacting to the letter of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over discrepancies in Terms of Reference (ToR) of 15th Finance Commission, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today said the Chief Minister should have gone through the ToR properly before expressing concern over it.

The ToR stipulates that the States which have performed well in population control and other government activities including revenue hike, electricity supply, declining losses in transportation, strengthening Panchayati Raj system would be given priorities.

The arguments of Patnaik have no base as he apprehended that the flow of funds will decline during the 15th Finance Commission because the Centre will adopt 2011 census data as base instead of 1971.

If the State had taken good initiatives in 2011 census to decrease the population, it will also be given priorities in the 15th Finance Commission, Pradhan added.

Similarly, the States which would do well for the people under 2022-New India Yojana would be provided more funds in the Commission. Why the Chief Minister objected such a ToR which stipulates that flow of funds will increase for the States which have successfully implemented the welfare schemes, Pradhan asked.

In a letter to the PM, Naveen Patnaik yesterday had strongly opposed the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission, saying it may adversely impact devolution of resources to the State as  the Centre will adopt 2011 census data as base.

He sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that the 15th Finance Commission uses the population data of the 1971 census while making its recommendations.

“On horizontal devolution, the ToR makes a radical departure by mandating the Commission to use population data of 2011 while making its recommendations. Population criterion is a very important factor in determination of share of a state in the divisible pool,” Patnaik stated.

“The Presidential order dated 27th November, 2017, on constitution and ToR of the 15th Finance Commission has made significant departures from the ToR of the previous Finance Commission, which may have adverse impact on horizontal devolution for Odisha as well as vertical devolution for states,” the Chief Minister wrote.

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