Even as political parties have been blaming the 13th finance commission for the state's poor fiscal health, a former state planning department official defended the panel and demanded formation of a commission to assess the reasons for Himachal receiving less non-plan revenue deficit grants from the central government.
SK Shaad, who was earlier planning advisor, said the chief minister should set up a panel to ascertain the reasons for the state getting less grants under different finance commissions and fix the responsibility of the officials responsible for what he called the "irreparable loss to the state's residents".
"The 13th finance commission has raised Himachal's share in central taxes from Rs 3, 203.22 crore during the 12th finance commission to Rs 11,327.30 crore during the 13th commission, which is Rs 253.62% higher than the 12th commission," he added.
Further, grants to local bodies have been increased from Rs 155 crore during the 12th finance commission to Rs 641.50 crore. Similarly, the state specific grant for Himachal Pradesh has been hiked from Rs 50 crore to Rs 600 crore during the 13th commission, an increase of 600%.
"The 13th finance commission has increased allocations under the state disaster relief fund to Rs 650.30 crore from Rs 400.52 crore during the 12th commission. This is an increase of 62.36 %. The 13th commission has given special grants of Rs 113 crore for elementary education. The 12th commission had not given any grants for these components. The 13th commission reduced the state's our allocation by 22.68% to Rs 7,888.80 crore from Rs 10,202.38 crore during the 12th commission. This was the only major cut in the total devolutions," Shaad said.
He added grants for maintenance of roads had been increased to Rs 436 crore during the 13th finance commission from Rs 261.14 crore during the 12th commission.