March 5, 2021 3:06:59 am
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday came down heavily on the Central government for pulling back from several programmes which mainly relied on funds from the Centre.
“We just say, implement what is said in the Constitution. Don’t we have a right to say that? The Constitution says that the Finance Commission will be constituted and based on its recommendations, there will be a division of revenue. It is our right and hence we ask. They are not doing us a favour by giving it. But the manner in which the Central government is doing jugglery, it is unfortunate,” Gehlot said during his reply to the Budget debate in the Assembly on Thursday.
He said that the 14th Finance Commission increased the share of states in central taxes from 32 per cent to 42 per cent and Centre had “no option but to follow it.” However, Gehlot alleged, they evaded transfer of benefits to the states by “distorting all centrally-sponsored schemes by changing the ratios (of state:centre funding).”
“All schemes have been blown to smithereens,” he said, listing several schemes where the ratios have been changed. He said under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) earlier, Centre used to bear 100 per cent but now it is 40:60 and that Integrated Women’s Empowerment Programme was also entirely borne by the Centre but now it is 40:60.
“Under National Health Mission, the Centre used to bear 75 per cent for 25 states. It is now 40:60; the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project used to be 25:75, now it is 50:50; the National Rural Livelihood Mission used to be 25:75 now it’s 40:60…they’ve blown the recommendations of the 14 Finance Commission,” Gehlot said.
“The way Centre is behaving…in our 2020-21 budget, they have cut Rs 14,000 crore from our share in central taxes without a reason. As for GST (shortfall), they termed it an Act of God due to corona. Yes it’s an Act of God, but you have many options, what options a state has, other than excise, mining and transport?” he said, adding that “For 2021-22 too, we’ve been told there will be a shortfall of Rs 12,000 crore in central taxes.”
With Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria questioning the government over its spending, Gehlot said, “There is no doubt that naturally, there is a financial crisis due to coronavirus. But despite that, our management is shandaar (magnificent) in comparison with your government. Some in Opposition said that till December 31, we had spent only 60 per cent of the funds – it is 62.1 per cent. We had also done 65 during our previous tenure. But in your time, it was 46 per cent in 2014-15 and 50.72 per cent in 2015-16.”
He said that the government is trying to address the loss in revenue by increasing the tax base by making the process easier, and by starting amnesty schemes and lowering DLC rates, among other measures.
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