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Friday, May 2, 2008

The Thirteenth Finance Commission met Chairmen and members of previous Finance Commissions at New Delhi today. The meeting was chaired by Dr Vijay Kelkar, Chairman of the Thirteenth Finance Commission. Members of the Commisison Shri B.K. Chaturvedi Dr. Indira Rajaraman, Prof. Atul Sarma and Dr. Sanjiv Misra were also present. The Previous Chairmen and members who attended included Shri KC Pant, Shri NKP Salve, Shri G Ramachandran, Shri VB Eswaran, Shri Debi Prosad Pal , Shri BPR Vithal , Shri Mahesh Prasad, Shri Som Pal , Shri Ch Hanumantha Rao, Shri JC Jetly, Shri TN Srivastava, Shri Arun Sinha and Shri Lal Thanhawla.

This meeting is the culmination of the series of regional and national consultative committee meetings held by the Thirteenth Finance Commission since it was constituted in November 2007. The commission has earlier held meetings in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai and Chandigarh and Shillong with economists and economic administrators.

The discussions covered the terms of reference of the Commission, its mandate, scope as well as suggestions for improving the finances of Centre and States. All the speakers pointed out that the Constitutional provisions have always been the guiding force in the work of the Finance Commissions and the responsibility for implementing these provisions is the primary mandate. A number of speakers made suggestions on the approach and the methodology to be followed by the Finance Commission during its deliberations. Suggestions were made on the modalities to be followed for the review of the finances of the Centre and the States and adoption of measures for maintaining a stable and sustainable fiscal environment consistent with achieving equitable growth. Speakers emphasized the need for the Commission to maintain a delicate balance between the needs of the Centre and the demands of the States in its work. It would also be necessary to maintain a balance between growth and equity while paying attention to improving the quality of expenditure in a framework of enhanced governance.

The Thirteenth Finance Commission was constituted to give specific recommendations on the sharing of tax receipts between the Centre and States and also for outlining the principles for providing grants- in- aid to the States out of the Consolidated Fund of India. The Commission will also suggest measures to augment the Consolidated Funds of the States to supplement the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities. The Finance Commission is expected to submit its final report by October 2009

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