Thirteenth Finance Commission arrives in HP

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Shimla, Jun 6 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Government has prepared an exhaustive document for higher devolutions of funds from the thirteenth Finance Commission, which arrived here today as part of their consultations with the state government and key stake holders.

Commission Chairman Vijay L Keklkar and members Indira Rajaraman, B K Chaturvedi and Atul Sharma along with commission secretary Sumit Bose met Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Cabinet members and senior officials of the state.

The members of the Commission also met representatives of the political parties, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Urban local bodies and trade and industry associations.

They would also visit key development sites in the state, including Nathpa Jhakri and Sawara Kudu Hydro Power project besides visiting Keylong, Saraswati nagar, Killar and Chamba to interact with representatives of PRIs, local citizens and development workers.

The members had held a meeting with the state's Principal Accountant General on May 29 in its office at New Delhi.

During its meeting with the state government, Mr Dhumal emphasised that special category states like Himachal had special needs because of their adverse geographical conditions and weak fiscal and infrastructural base.

Seeking continued financial support from the centre, he said the Commission should apply objective criteria when it considers the state's expenditure commitments, including the sixth Pay Commission.

The state government also outlined its principal socio- economic and structural challenges facing the state in implementing its developmental policies while highlighting its fiscal implications.

The Commission's chairman complimented the state on its outstanding human development record and said its literacy and infant mortality rate were better than the national average.

It had also made significant progress in extending education to the girls, Mr Klkar added.

He lauded the state for its successful introduction and implementation of value added tax (VAT).

The Commission would finalise its recommendations by October 2009 after completing its discussions with all state governments, central government and all stakeholders.

UNI AS PS SR HT1928

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