Finance ministers of four southern states will meet Tuesday to discuss their concerns over the Terms of Reference of the 15th Finance Commission. Hosted by Kerala, the meeting has been convened with the objective to highlight the issue and “make it a national agenda for debate”. Officials from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry will attend the meeting, which will be inaugurated by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Officials from Telangana will skip the meeting, and it is unlikely that Tamil Nadu will attend.
Kerala Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac said the new formula, which will adversely affect southern states, has not become a debate in the country. “We will not allow to destroy the federal co-operative structure of the nation,” he was quoted as saying by news agency.
South Indian states have raised concerns over a new population-based formula for tax sharing between the Centre and states. The 15th Finance Commission, constituted in November 2017, has recognised population as an important criteria for distribution of taxes and said it will use data from the 2011 census while making recommendations for the five-year period beginning from 2020.
The southern states, however, want the recommendations to be based on 1971 census data. This is because, as compared to northern states, south India has recorded significant progress in population control or in the replacement rate of population growth.