The devolution of tax revenues from the Centre has left the South Indian states fuming, with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister saying “There is nothing called Centre’s or State’s money. It is the taxpayer’s money. Southern states contribute the maximum tax revenue to the Centre but they are diverting the money to the development of the North.” Calling the Centre ‘cheats’ who refused to give special status to Andhra, the Chief Minister has slammed the BJP led Centre for following a political agenda in changing the population specification for the allocation of central funds.
It all started with the 15th Finance Commission’s (FC) Terms of Reference (ToR), a directive of which advocates the following of 2011 Census instead of 1971 census in regards to the allocation of funds to various states. In the four decades between 1971 and 2011, South Indian states have greatly controlled the population growth while the numbers seem no different in North India.
Considering how effectively the South Indian states implemented population control methodologies, the center’s decision to follow 2011 census amounts to the central government punishing the southern states for controlling the population. Lashing out at the center, Mr. Naidu also asked if the center will also follow the 2011 census for the number of seats each state will have in the parliament. It can be noted that the cash starved Andhra Pradesh has gotten a raw deal from the center in the past too, not to mention the fact that the special status that was promised to the state has been long pending.
Urging the Southern states to come together against the 15th FC’s ToR, Mr. Naidu hit out at center’s North India and Hindi belt centric approach and slammed the BJP led government for following the approach. In sync with him, is the Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who tweeted on Friday asking all Southern Chief Ministers to resist.
The Telangana CM, K Chandrasekhar Rao also spoke along these lines, giving out statistics saying, “The Centre earned Rs 50,013 crore in taxes from us the last fiscal ending 2017. It gave back only Rs 24,561 under all their schemes. Amit Shah should know that it is Telangana which gave Rs 25,452 to the Centre.”