PATNA: A joint meeting of all major political parties of Bihar on Saturday unanimously decided to submit a memorandum to the 15th Finance Commission for its recommendations of funds and tax devolutions to the state.
In the meeting convened by the ruling JD(U) to discuss the possible changes in the 15th Finance Commission’s terms of reference, all major political parties, professional and academic organisations called for a unified effort to ensure the state does not lose out on its share in central taxes.
The meeting, presided over by Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, was attended by senior leaders of JD(U), its ally BJP, and the Opposition RJD, Congress, CPI(ML) and CPI(M). Chief Minister and JD(U) national president Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav (RJD) skipped the meeting.
“The 15th Finance Commission should retain the 2011 Census figures in its term of reference while determining the share of states in the divisible pool of central taxes. The memorandum to be submitted to the Commission on this matter should also include Bihar’s demand for special category status,” said Chaudhary.
Senior JD(U) leader RCP Singh, a close confidant of Nitish Kumar, raised the issue of “historical negligence and injustice” to Bihar. He said it is time the state should get its “rightful share” in the central pool of funds and taxes to maintain its rapid progress.
“Bihar is a landlocked state. It has faced historical negligence and injustice due to central policy interventions. Floods caused by rivers flowing from Nepal, ravage Bihar every year and causes massive destruction,” said Singh, a Rajya Sabha member.
Former finance minister and RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui said: “The Finance Commission must consider Bihar’s human development indicators and how Bihar has lagged historically. The panel must adopt a more conscious approach in the allocation of funds to the state.”
With a team of Finance Commission members due for a two-day visit of Bihar in July, it was decided at the all-party meeting that the demand would be raised forcefully before the panel.
North-South divide over share of funds
Population will be a major criterion in devolution of central tax share of states
Some southern states fear their share will be lower
Bihar is seeking special category status and special assistance for itself