States demand increase of 50 pc share in divisible pool

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 7 (UNI) Expressing concern over unchanged divisible pool by successive Finance Commissions, most of the states has demanded their share to be increased to 50 per cent to fulfil their responsibilities in the changed situation.

The demand was made at a seminar on ' Centre-State relations in the Context of the 13th Finance Commission', in which State Finance Ministers and economists participated.

Deliberating on the seminar, Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Issac and Kerala Planning Board Vice-chairman Prabhat Patnaik said that states should be allowed to draw 50 per cent of the total market borrowings of the centre and the state taken together.

Mr Issac told newspersons here that the imbalance between the resources and responsibilities of the State Governments had been accentuated because of the need to provide relief to the people against the hardships brought by the neo-liberal policies. The Finance Commissions, whose constitutional task was to overcome the imbalance, had kept the states share in the divisibility pool unchanged, he added.

The seminar also demanded the winding up of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and to hand over to them the resources spent on such schemes, Mr Patnaik said. Pointing out that there should be more flexibility to the CSS, he said the responsibility of the schemes should be left with the States.

The participants felt that a legislation conferring rights on the people should be introduced to meet minimum social targets for the whole country as a whole, he said.

On the sixth pay commission, Mr Patnaik said the participants were concerned over the substantial increase in the expenditure obligations of the State Governments and stated that the Commission should ensure that at least 50 per cent of the additional requirement was met by the Centre.

The seminar also took strong exception to the recent practise of the Finance Commissions, imposing conditionalities upon state governments even to make available the resources that were constitutionally due to them.

The participants had also felt that the 13th Finance Commission would make adequate funds available to the States to enable them to develop more resources to the Local Self Governments.

Mr Issac and Mr Patnaik said it was decided that all the State Finance Ministers would collectively meet the 13th Finance Commission and discuss all the issues.

The Gulati Institute of Finance and Taxation and the State Planning Board jointly organised the two-day seminar, which was just a day after the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers meeting here on Monday.


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