The 15th Finance Commission headed by N. K. Singh held talks with political parties, trade and industry organisations and local bodies in Maharashtra, while the government and political parties sought a special grant of Rs 50,000 crore for Mumbai’s development, an official said here.
On a three-day visit to the state, the commission comprises Ashok Lahiri, Shaktikanta Das, Anoop Singh and Ramesh Chand.
Leaders and delegations of several political parties expressed concern that the state has been deprived of tax devolution on the pretext that the state has the highest GSDP and successive commissions ignored the challenges of regional inequality within Maharashtra.
They demanded that since Maharashtra has maintained the population replacement rate of 1.8, it should be incentivized for the same.
Raising issues concerning Mumbai, which has been the growth magnet for the country, they discussed the resultant immigration which puts enormous stress on resources and infrastructure.
For this, the parties demanded from the Commission a special grant of Rs.50,000 crore for the city’s development as people from all states in the country live here.
They pointed out that while population is a critical indicator for devolution, due weightage should be given to “in-migration”, sought adequate revenue deficit grants and to pay attention to the farm crises and drought afflicting the state.
Various industry and agriculture groups informed the Commission about the shortage of equity and credit faced by them and requested that Goods & Services Tax (GST) on services used by the centre and state may be borne by the respective governments to spare the MSMEs of the burden of frequent taxation.
The industry groups pointed out that the competitiveness of Indian exporters would improve due to the Rupee depreciation within a range of Rs 72-73 per USD.
They added that the domino effects of insolvency and NCLT is faced by MSMEs and sought relaxation in the rules of the Insolvency Act.
Local civic bodies in the urban and rural areas raised issued of need to devolve funds to the Zilla and Taluka Panchayats, besides village Panchayats, to maintain community assets, capacity building, raising internal resources and cluster-based approach for effective delivery of services like sold waste management.
Representatives from the coastal Konkan demanded special grants for dealing with cleanliness and beautification of sea shores, arresting saline water ingression and hill regions like Panchgani sought funds to provide services to the tourist population and performance-based incentives.