No injustice to south: Ram Madhav meets 15th finance panel chief

Southern states have objected to the parameters chosen by the panel for the devolution of finances.

New Delhi: BJP general secretary Ram Madhav met NK Singh, chairperson of the 15th Finance Commission on Tuesday to place before him the concerns of southern states which have objected to the parameters chosen by the panel for the devolution of finances after the inclusion of the 2011 census as the baseline for allocations.

The meeting came after south leaders, including Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, DMK leader MK Stalin and Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac had flagged worries that the inclusion of the 2011 census will reward the more populous north India while their share of tax revenue will decline only because their population has decreased.

Following the meeting, Ram Madhav said that he received an assurance from the Finance Commission’s chairman that the states with progressive population would not be penalised.

According to a report in The Indian Express, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said, “The chairman assured that the guidelines are such that no state with progressive population policy would face injustice. He said that the terms of reference ensure that no discrimination is committed against the states with progressive population policies and measures.”

“In fact, he even said they (guidelines) have the scope for incentivising such actions,” he added.

The BJP has recently faced criticisms for not fulfilling special status demand made by political parties in Andhra Pradesh. The ruling TDP not only walked out of the NDA alliance but also gave no-confidence motion against the Centre in Lok Sabha. Even YSRCP has given a notice for moving no-confidence motion.

Amid this controversy, Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah alleged discrimination against southern states, citing the central government’s recommendation to Finance Commission to use population data from the 2011 census for sharing central tax revenues. Earlier, census of 1971 was being used.

Madhav’s meeting is being seen as an attempt made by BJP to remove its tag of being an anti-south party in view of the 2019 election. As BJP fears losing some seats in its stronghold states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, it wants to make up to that by winning more seats in the southern states. The prospects of the party in south would diminish more if all the southern states come together.

“The BJP has to pre-empt such a move,” a senior party leader said.

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