15th Finance Commission Holds Meeting With Housing & Urban Affairs Ministry
India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri speaks during the Thessaloniki International Fair in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Photographer: Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg)

15th Finance Commission Holds Meeting With Housing & Urban Affairs Ministry

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The Fifteenth Finance Commission on Friday held a meeting with Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and his ministry's senior officials, during which they sought an increase in devolution to municipalities by at least four times.

The financial recommendations made by the ministry to the commission include bridging the resource gap of municipalities, establishing a programme management unit at the ministry for better management of accounts at a cost of Rs 213 crore, and building of institutional capacities at a cost of Rs 450 crore.

"The ministry has asked for increase in allocation to urban municipal bodies from Rs. 87,143 crore to Rs 3,48,575 crore; harmonisation and integration of municipal accounts with state and central accounts, funds required Rs 213 crore; own revenues enhancement, municipal borrowings and shared municipal services in 86 city clusters, funds required Rs 450 crore; separate grant for urban public health infrastructure to the ministry," an official statement said.

"The commission has assured to look into all the recommendations and issues of the ministry while making the final recommendation to the government in his report 2020-21 to 2025-26," it said.

It also said the discussions in the meeting centred around creating an 'enabling environment' for urban local bodies to be placed in the driver's seat with regard to property tax administration -- to remove the duplication, overlapping or fragmentation of functions across different years of the government.

"The financial recommendations made by the ministry to the commission include - bridging the resource gap of Municipalities substantial increase in grants for municipal level resources and increase of devolution to Municipalities by at least four times," it said.

It said the focus was on making these bodies responsible for collection of relevant data, valuation or assessment, setting tax rates, collecting tax and requisite oversight on all these aspects.

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