Demand for 7th CPC, SPA, SCA aired to FC team

IMPHAL, 29th Nov: A 10-member team of 15th Finance Commission led by its chairman NK Singh arrived here on Thursday and met representatives of different political parties, urban & rural local bodies and others.
The team reached Imphal from Kohima in a helicopter around 12 noon and met representatives of political parties at the old secretariat conference hall at 2.30 pm. The political parties pressed the commission team to provide financial assistance for implementing 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) to the state government employees and continue the Special Plan Assistance (SPA) and Special Central Assistance (SCA).
CPM Manipur secretary Kh Shanta submitted a 14-page memorandum to the commission team and gave a brief report on the financial management system in the state. The memorandum mentioned that non-implementation of the revised pay has led to suppressed revenue expenditure and urged the commission to provide a lump sum amount as special grant or normal central assistance for implementation of the revised pay for the term 2020-21 to 2024-25 in five equal instalments.
While urging for continuing the SPA and SCA, the memorandum contended that these assistance will help in improving social and physical infrastructure and help the state in catching up with the rest of the country. It also urged the commission to continue the existing funding pattern for centrally sponsored schemes while adding that without the pattern, the north east states having least resources and fund, will face hardships in implementing the schemes.
Certain changes are experienced in the non-financial commission grants from the Centre due to changes in tax devolution and it further resulted in increased state share in centrally sponsored schemes, the memorandum stated. It then urged the commission to increase the devolution of central tax provided to the states from 42 to 50 per cent while adding that the same was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
Kh Devbrata of Congress, M Bhorot of BJP, L Sotinkumar of CPI and BD Behring of PDA were among the representatives of political parties, who attended the meeting.
Later at 3.30 pm, the team met representatives of municipal councils and nagar panchayats. After the meeting, IMC mayor L Lokeshwar told media persons that they highlighted problems faced by urban local bodies in taking up developmental works due to limited budget and grants from the government. They urged the commission to increase the grant in-aid amount for urban local bodies in order to speed up infrastructure development and resource mobilization.
The team then met representatives of rural local bodies at 4.15 pm. The rural local bodies were represented by ZP members, pradhans and ADC members. During the meeting, a memorandum signed by Zila Parishad Forum Manipur secretary Sinam Marjit was submitted to the commission team.
The forum explained that unlike the past, ZP was denied the benefits of both basic and performance grants under 14th finance commission while the said grants have been major source of fund for meaningful discharge of responsibilities assigned to ZPs in the state. The unexpected cessation of the grants has given a serious blow to the process of planning and development of districts in the state, the memorandum said while urging the commission to revive the principle of equitable distribution of grants at all levels since this is extremely important in Manipur where fiscal disability is high. It also stated that the fund provided by state finance commission is too low.
The state finance commission does not provide the opportunity to hear and consult major stakeholders like ZP and GPs before finalization of proposals to central finance commission, and it resulted in genuine needs remaining unattended.
It then urged the commission to insist upon mandatory consultative meetings between ZPs and state finance commission at least four times ahead of the finalization of proposals. The memorandum also urged for constitution of Northeast Finance Commission, increasing the amount granted by the 15th finance commission at least three fold from the previous commission in view of fiscal disability and acute shortage of infrastructure suffered by the state.
It urged the commission to empower ZPs to monitor and evaluate works implemented by GPs in their respective jurisdiction.
Later, at 5 pm, the commission team met representatives of trade and industries and discussed needs felt in the sector.
The team will meet chief minister, council of ministers and top government officials at the conference hall of old secretariat on Friday morning at 9 to discuss works and financial requirements of the state for the next five years.
The team will leave Imphal after address a press conference at 12 noon.

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