Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan today slammed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for opposing the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission and said there was no reason for fearing a cut in funds to the state.
"Apprehensions expressed by Patnaik in a letter to the Prime Minister about adverse impact on devolution of resources have no basis. There is no reason to oppose the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission," Pradhan, the Petroleum Minister, told reporters here.
Stating that there is provision for rewarding the states which have done well in terms of population control, Pradhan said there is no reason for Patnaik to fear that flow of funds will decline with adoption of 2011 census data as base during the 15th Finance Commission.
Similar apprehensions had earlier been expressed by some states and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have already allayed fears about reduction of flow of funds from the Centre, he said.
"Patnaik has no reason to oppose the ToR as they have provision for enhanced funds in 15th Finance Commission to states which successfully implement different programmes for the welfare and development of people," Pradhan said.
The ToR also has provision for giving greater attention to states which successfully expand their own tax volume, show preparedness to face natural disasters, improve power distribution and grant greater autonomy to panchayat bodies and strengthen them, he said.
"Since the chief minister has been making tall claims about development in all spheres, he has no reason to oppose such ToR," Pradhan said and wondered whether Patnaik is trying to "hide his own weaknesses and failures."
Pradhan also said that the 14th Finance Commission had also taken into consideration the 2011 census data though it took the 1971 census as base.
"Patnaik is opposed to the ToR as he has been following a feudal style of distributing money for populist schemes, and now the 15th Finance Commission will be keeping a close watch on such practice," Pradhan said.
Moreover, Patnaik should know that the Finance Commission is not guided by the Centre alone and it holds consultations with the states too. When the Commission comes to Odisha, the state government would get ample opportunity to present its views, he said.
Pradhan's reaction came after the chief minister sent a letter to Peime Minister Narendra Modi on April 13 saying the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission may adversely impact devolution of resources to the state.
He feared that the flow of funds will decline during the 15th Finance Commission because the Centre will adopt 2011 census data as base.
"Our main suggestions during the consultation prior to the notification of the ToR appear to have been ignored .. I would, therefore, request your personal intervention so that the issues are appropriately addressed," Patnaik said in his letter to the Prime Minister.
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