Himachal chief minister Virbhadra Singh intends to raise issues relating to the 14th finance commission's recommendations and their implications and the NDA government's move to scrap the planning commission at the conclave of Congress party chief ministers scheduled to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting will be chaired by All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi.
Virbhadra had earlier expressed the view that the planning commission, which was set up in March 15, 1950, was "better" than Prime Minister Narendra Modi's brainchild NITI Aayog, the new body that replaced it. At the meeting, which will discuss "fiscal management" among other matters, he also plans to raise the issue of doing away with "special status" for various states besides the central government's move to scrap special plan assistance, special central assistance and normal central assistance.
The central government has tried to compensate states by increasing the percentage of shared taxes from 32% to 42%. However, the Himachal government has claimed it has incurred losses of around `2,898 crore including `1,546 crore, `850 crore and `500 crore as a result of withdrawal of normal, central and special assistance, respectively.
The state government is of the view that northeastern states, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, which were given "special" status, used to get financial assistance from the central government in the ratio of 90:10 or 70:30 but, with NITI Aayog replacing the planning commission, the states stat were impacted the most were were Himachal and Uttarakhand.
The issue of reduced funds for schemes sponsored by the central government will also come up at the conclave. Sources said the Congress party leadership will take feedback from all chief ministers to draw up future strategies.