Panel formed to advise on finance commission’s terms of reference

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New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The 15th Finance Commission on Wednesday set up an advisory council to assist it in matters related to its terms of reference (ToR).

The panel, to be headed by Forum for Strategic Initiatives President Arvind Virmani, will advise the commission on all relevant issues and subjects and help conduct research studies to enhance the commission’s understanding of issues in its ToR, an official statement said.

It will also “help in broadening the commission’s ambit and understanding to seek best national and international practices on matters pertaining to fiscal devolution and improving the quality and reach and enforcement of its recommendations”, it added.

The other members of the advisory council include Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council member (part-time) Surjit Bhalla, Ex-Deputy Director (Fiscal Affairs Department) of International Monetary Fund Sanjeev Gupta, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy professor Pinaki Chakraborty, JP Morgan’s Chief India Economist Sajjid Chinoy and Credit Suisse India economist and strategist Neelkanth Mishra.

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On Monday, a meeting of 11 state finance ministers held in Amaravati described the Finance Commission’s ToR as undermining the federal structure and decided to seek President Ram Nath Kovind’s intervention to reframe them.

They claimed that the ToR almost penalises states for being progressive and well-performing.

On Tuesday, Congress leader P. Chidambaram urged the finance ministers of all states to sign a memorandum against the ToR.

–IANS

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