GUWAHATI: The 15th Finance Commission has launched its national-level consultations with Arunachal Pradesh amidst the perception that the exercise will ruffle China’s feathers given the neighbouring country’s claim over the frontier state.
Beijing has invariably protested the visits of Indian President, Prime Minister, Union ministers and high-ranking officials to the state which it calls as southern Tibet.
Through the consultations, the Commission will essentially try to analyse the challenges and requirements of the states in the country and evolve a formula for reasonable distribution of funds.
The Commission, constituted last year, has been asked to submit its recommendations by October 31 next year for five years beginning on April 1, 2020. It will next hold the consultations in Jammu & Kashmir followed by Kerala.
Given the move to distribute Central taxes to the states based on the 2011 census data, there is a perceived fear that it will adversely affect the south Indian states for their better management of population. Among factors, the Central tax share is determined by population. The other factors include the geographical area of a state, its forest cover, income distance (difference of income between the highest-earning state and a particular state) etc.
From the Seventh Finance Commission to 13th Finance Commission, population was determined based on the 1971 census data. During the term of the 13th Finance Commission, it was partially shifted to the 2011 census. Now, there is a move to entirely shift it to the 2011 census as the 1971 data has been removed from the terms of reference for the 15th Finance Commission. The move will benefit the states in north India as the growth of their population between 1971 and 2011 has been very high.
“The consultation was started by the 14th Finance Commission. In order to cover a wider spectrum of the society, we have widened it by including civic bodies and social organisations,” the Commission’s acting chairman, Shaktikanta Das, told reporters in Arunachal capital Itanagar on Friday.
“We started the process with Arunachal as it is here where the sun rises first in the country,” he said.
Arunachal shares its border with Bhutan, Myanmar besides China. There are over 130 habitations along the international borders and the Commission said the state government had sought development of border areas to be factored into the ratio of allotment of central taxes share.