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Central finance team to visit state

Ranchi, Dec. 29: A team of the Finance Commission of India is scheduled to arrive in Ranchi on January 8, even as the state mandarins are preparing their case for bigger share in the central taxes.

The team would discuss various issues with the state higher-ups on January 9 and 10 at a city hotel, before submitting its recommendations to the Centre.

“We will mainly raise the issue of devolution of state share from the central taxes. Jharkhand will also submit some demands to meet its requirements. Departments concerned are busy preparing presentations for the high-profile meetings,” state finance secretary A.P. Singh told The Telegraph.

Singh said Jharkhand was currently entitled to an annual central allocations of Rs 1,500-2,000 crore.

So this time, the state is aiming to get around Rs 10,000 crore from 2015 to 2020 from the central taxes head.

Funds under the Central Sector Schemes (CSS), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and National Horticulture Mission (NHM) among others come separately.

The commission members are expected to meet chief minister Hemant Soren and his cabinet colleagues, besides chief secretary R.S. Sharma and heads of various departments.

The 14th Finance Commission, a constitutional body, headed by former RBI governor Y.V. Reddy, includes secretary Ajay Narayan Jha and member (part time) Abhijit Sen, also a member of Planning Commission.

Besides, former Union finance secretary Sushma Nath, director of National Institute for Public Finance and Policy, Delhi, M. Govinda Rao, former acting chairman of National Statistical Commission Sudipto Mundle are also on the committee.

The Finance Commission has already toured 12 states and will visit other states as well and seek their proposals. By the end of 2014, the commission will recommend devolution of central funds to the states for the period between 2015 and 2020.

Notably, Jharkhand’s track record in utilisation of funds under the plan head, which also includes central assistance, has been poor.

In the current financial year itself, Jharkhand has been able to utilise less than Rs 5,000 crore so far against a total earmarked kitty of Rs 16,800 crore under the plan head.