KOCHI: As the southern states’ opposition to the 15th Finance Commission’s Terms of Reference (ToR) mounts, a new study has found Kerala stands to lose a staggering Rs 7,800 crore if it uses the 2011 Census to estimate the population as against the 1971 Census, which was used by the previous commissions. The study by the city-based Centre for Socioeconomic & Environmental Studies (CSES) says Kerala will be second only to Tamil Nadu which will lose a mammoth Rs 10,537 crore if the new ToR is used.
“The composition of the 15th Finance Commission and its ToR do not inspire confidence among the states, particularly Kerala,” says the study by CSES chairman K K George and fellow K K Krishnakumar, while pointing out the commission mainly factors in the Centre’s concerns and specific programmes which are more populist than the so-called populist schemes of the states.
“Ancillary but unforeseen consequence of the birth control measures implemented much earlier than most other states by Kerala and the other southern states should not be penalised. Instead, they should be given incentives for achieving population control and other social development initiatives ahead of time,” says the report ‘ToR of the 15th Finance Commission: Implication for Kerala - Is the Cooperative Federalism on the Back Foot’.
The report says it is for the first time the Finance Commission’ ToR, which determines how much tax money collected by the Centre is allocated to the state, clearly mentions ‘the commission shall use the population data of 2011 while making its recommendations’. “This clause in the terms of reference goes against the assurance given in Parliament with a view to encouraging population control, a national goal then and also now. This policy was also approved by the National Development Council at its 33rd meeting in 1970 and reiterated in the National Population Policy in 2000. The fact the period for which the distribution of the Lok Sabha seats among states was frozen was extended to another 25 years in 2001 has also to be taken into consideration in this context,” it said.
BIMARU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) states, which have given scant regard to population control, on the other hand, are the major gainers from the flawed approach, it said. While UP gains around Rs 9,300 crore, Rajasthan becomes richer by Rs 7,006 crore, followed by Bihar (Rs 6,826 crore) and MP (Rs 3,966 crore).