Vaithilingam raises question in Parliament
The Centre has no plan to include the Union Territory of Puducherry within the purview of the 15th Finance Commission, according to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s response to a question raised by Congress MP V.Vaithilingam on the opening day of the monsoon session of Parliament on Monday.
Mr. Vaithilingam, had, in a starred question, sought to know whether the Union Territory of Puducherry was yet to be included under the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission, despite repeated requests from the Government of Puducherry and whether the Union government would come forward to do.
Ms. Sitharaman, while replying in the negative to both questions, stated that the terms of reference of the Finance Commission were framed under Art 280 (3) of the Constitution. It envisages that the Commission make recommendations on sharing of taxes, grants-in aid of revenue in respect of States. Puducherry being a Union Territory, therefore, does not fall under the ambit of Art 280(3).
The 15th Finance Commission as per its terms of reference has submitted its report pertaining to Financial Years 2021-22 to 2025-26 to the President of India on November 9, 2020.
An explanatory memorandum as to the action taken on the recommendations made by the Commission was laid in Parliament on February 1, she said.
In a press note later, Mr. Vaithilingam said the failure to provide means to allot additional funds for the Union Territory exposed the false promises in the BJP manifesto released by Ms. Sitharaman in Puducherry during the election.
The Congress MP said one of the promises in the manifesto was that the Central government’s financial allocation for Puducherry would be increased from 25% to 45% as for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
According to Mr. Vaithilingam, the Minister’s answer to the contrary showed that the BJP had made false promises to influence the voters and come to power. Many more would soon come out, he said.
The Finance Minister’s response was in the negative to Mr. Vaithilingam’s query on whether the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir had been included under the ambit of the 15th Finance Commission.
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