Countering the opposition’s allegation that the budget is “anti-poor”, “pro-corporates” and reduces allocation to states, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley intervened multiple times during the discussion on the budget to stress that many states would stand to gain due to implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations.
The 14th Finance Commission, he said, has suggested a 10 per cent hike in devolution of funds to states. “Every state is earning thousands of crores more because of the recommendation,” he said in the Lok Sabha.
TRS member K Kavitha said that after taking into account the budgetary allocation and devolution of funds as per Finance Commission recommendations, there had been “a Rs 777 crore loss (in terms of central funds) to Telangana in 2015-16 fiscal” and added the state plan allocation had declined from Rs 3.37 lakh crore to Rs 1.96 lakh crore.
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Jaitley said, “Because of one state, I cannot go back to the 13th Finance Commission recommendations.”
He gave instances of states standing to gain under the new method, saying that for West Bengal the devolution was Rs 27,962 crore in 2014-15, which would rise to Rs 49,079 crore in 2015-16.
For Andhra Pradesh, it would go up to Rs 30,530 crore in next fiscal, from Rs 15,720 crore in 2014-15.
“If any state wishes to go back to the 13th Finance Commission recommendation, we (Centre) would have more money in our pocket,” Jaitley said.
The 14th Finance Commission has recommended a 10 per cent increase in the states’ share in Union taxes to 42 per cent, which has been accepted by the Centre and will give the states an additional Rs 1.78 lakh crore in 2015-16. The report of the commission also recommends a grants-in-aid of Rs 48,906 crore for 11 revenue-deficit states, including Andhra post-division, Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir, for 2015-16. For the period up to 2020, it will be over Rs 1.94 lakh crore.
The total devolution to the states in 2015-16 will be Rs 5.26 lakh crore, up from Rs 3.48 lakh crore in 2014-15, while the total devolution to states during the five-year period up to 2019-20 will be Rs 39.48 lakh crore.
Earlier, while opening the debate for the Opposition, Congress MP Veerappa Moily said most of the initiatives announced in the budget were started during the time of the UPA.
The BJP’s Hukmdev Narayan Yadav defended his government: “Everyone says a child is born in nine months. But I want to ask them, is a child born after nine months capable of having a child immediately?”