15th  Finance Commission Should Take A Call On Revenue Deficit Grant To Andhra Pradesh: Nirmala Sitharaman
Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s finance minister, center left, and Anurag Thaku, minister of state for finance, center right, wear protective masks as they depart a news conference in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: T. Narayan/Bloomberg)

15th Finance Commission Should Take A Call On Revenue Deficit Grant To Andhra Pradesh: Nirmala Sitharaman

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Agreeing that the dispute raging between the Centre and the Andhra Pradesh government over payment of revenue deficit grant for over five years now still remained unresolved, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, however, said it was for the 15th Finance Commission to take a call on the issue and not the Finance Ministry.

She asked the state government to discuss the issue with the 15th Finance Commission and let the latter decide.

"It is unresolved. But its for the 15th Finance Commission to decide, not the Finance Ministry.

I said this also to the state government when the Finance Minister met me," Sitharaman said in a press conference in Vijayawada on Wednesday evening.

During his recent trip to New Delhi, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy submitted a memorandum to the Centre stating that a sum of Rs 18,830.87 crore was still overdue in the form of revenue deficit grant to the state.

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Post-bifurcation of the state in 2014, the Centre agreed to bridge the revenue gap but pegged the amount at Rs 4,117.89 crore for the financial year 2014-15 whereas the state government, citing a CAG report, claimed the amount was Rs 22,948.76 crore.

Even out of the Rs 4,117.89 crore, the Centre so far paid only Rs 3,979.50 crore, leaving a gap of Rs 138.39 crore, according to the state government.

"I dont know about the amount and what is unresolved is something which the Ministry has to work, considering that it was based on the 14th Finance Commission’s recommendations.

The 14th Finance Commission’s term is over. So it is an issue which has to be discussed," Sitharaman said, replying to questions.

Maintaining that she was not questioning the state governments claims on the issue, the Union Finance Minister remarked, "I dont know what kind of solutions I can offer.

This is something which I have told the minister concerned who met me to speak about it." She pointed out that the one-year report of the 15th Finance Commission has already come and was being implemented.

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"And, the 15th FC will give for the rest of the 4-5 years. You are talking about a recommendation of the 14th FC, so it has to be discussed," Sitharaman added.

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