The 15th Finance Commission led by N K Singh today met economists to discuss the importance of centrally-sponsored schemes and fund devolution to states based on population. Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan, NIPFP Director Rathin Roy, JNU Professor Jayanti Ghosh and Aditya Birla Group Chief Economist Ajit Ranade were among nine economists who took part in deliberations.
“Finance Comm received thoughtful suggestions from renowned economists on macroeconomic landscape, issues related to flow of funds and also their views on its Terms of Reference,” the Commission said in a tweet. The next meeting with economists will be held on May 17. “Today, suggestions received on various aspects of the ToR, particulary on the core obligations of the Union Govt, the future of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) & equality in allocations,” it said in another tweet.
The economists, sources said, have said that devolution of funds based on population to the state would ensure efficiency in fund allocation. Many southern states had opposed the ToR of the Commission over its mandate to use 2011 Census data over the 1971 Census data for resource allocation. They said that being a progressive state which have succeeded in population control would lose revenue if 2011 census was taken as base for devolution of central funds.
Sources said during deliberations economists opined that devolution should be based on need of population. The meeting also discussed about CSS which are not meeting their stated objectives and also accountability of local bodies in utilisation of funds. Economists also suggested that the commission should take into account efforts of states which have seen rise in collection of taxes. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer also made a presentation on initiatives taken under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.