Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday criticised states seeking greater funds from the Central government on the basis of the fact that they generated more revenue.
Addressing a CNN-News18 Town Hall event here, she made the comment while responding to Tamil Nadu’s demand for more funds.
“You can’t expect more money just because you generate more money than other states. ‘You, me’ narrative won’t work. A country cannot prosper like that. Revenues earned by states are for India,” she said.
Sitharaman also described the “revadi” culture (populist measures offered by states) as “bogus”.
She said such measures are meant for misleading the common man.
“Do understand the finances of your state and account for it in your budget. Pay your own subsidies. Do not expect from us,” she said.
On the issue of releasing funds for states, she said: “The population is coming down. Many states have valid questions to be asked… reproductive rate is almost going to be negative. The Finance Commission took the route to make up for it on some level proves that there is a recognition of the problem. The Commission is addressing it, not to the proportion of expectation, but somewhat.”
She also said that welfare is equivalent to public good, adding that it undoubtedly means hospitals, public schools, infrastructure and good roads.
Sitharaman also called out the opposition parties that have been criticising the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
“Institution building takes time… to trash it is very easy.
“Some of us probably will have a greater level of patience, some may not, but institutions need patience,” she said.
She pointed out that the GST was constituted by a panel of state ministers which was led by West Bengal’s Asim Dasgupta, who came from an opposition party.
Asked whether southern states were being discriminated against in the devolution of funds as defined by successive Finance Commissions, she said that the issue had been addressed to an extent.