15th Finance Commission would not like to penalise performing states: Singh

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Chennai : The Finance Commission would not like to penalise states that have performed well on various development parameters, a top official said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters here 15th Finance Commission Chairman N.K. Singh said its endeavour is to ensure states that are better performing to improve further while those lagging behind in development are helped to touch the national average.

He was here for deliberations with the state government.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami told the Commission that the state has serious concerns on the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission.

"I wish to reiterate that we oppose the use of 2011 population data. It would punish progressive states like Tamil Nadu which have achieved success in population control through their own efforts," Palaniswami told the Commission.

"I urge the Commission to make 'population control' one of the points for devolution, with as much weight as 'population'. I also request that for the purposes of devolution, 1971 data be adopted by the Finance Commission," he said.

Palaniswami also expressed the state government's opposition to the reference to control of expenditure on so-called populist programmes.

The Chief Minister said that the term "populist" is a subjective term which has a very fine line of difference with popular schemes.

According to Singh, West Bengal, Odisha and Punjab have said that the population data of 1971 be adopted but the Commission has no say in the formulation of its ToR.

Chief Minister Palaniswami told the Commission that Tamil Nadu's share in devolution has fallen in all recent Finance Commissions. Tamil Nadu has lost Rs 6,000 crore per annum in the 14th Finance Commission, casting a doubt on the fairness of the whole system in the mind of people.

Singh said the 15th Finance Commission will continue to be impartial to central and state governments.

Tamil Nadu is the 8th state with which the Commission is having discussions, he added.

He said the Commission's recommendations will be given by October 2019.