VIJAYAWADA: The follow-up meeting of the Finance Ministers of southern states to be held in Vijayawada on May 7 is likely to be attended by representatives of more states. The first meeting on April 10 held in Thiruvananthapuram was hosted by the Kerala government to discuss in detail the common fears that most of the southern states share over the terms of reference fixed for the 15th Finance Commission. However, Tamil Nadu and Telangana stayed away from the meeting. The southern states fear that the terms of reference to come into force from 2020 will result in a loss of Rs 80,000 crore to them.
And now, the second leg of the meeting in Vijayawada is expected to have the presence of Odisha and West Bengal.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, who came to Vijayawada on Monday to discuss the agenda for the meeting, told media persons that the provisions of the 15th Finance Commission would pose a threat to the federal democratic system and cause huge loss to states. “Not only southern states, but some more in other parts of the country would suffer similar consequences due to the terms of reference of the finance panel and it’s time for all the states to come together to oppose the Centre’s move,” he said.
It is learnt that West Bengal and Odisha expressed their willingness to participate in the meeting. Stating that the meeting was not limited to the southern states alone, Isaac said invitations would be extended to all those states going to suffer loss due to the terms of reference of the panel.Sources said that invitations would be extended to all the non-BJP-ruled states so as to send a message that the Centre is making attempts to override the rights of the state governments.