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NCP demands special grant for Greater Mumbai Region

Maharashtra NCP president and former state finance minister Jayant Patil Tuesday said the Finance Commission should give special grant to the Greater Mumbai Region.

He also suggested that the Commission should have separate fund for meeting agrarian distress, which is not always drought related but could be in the form of excess production as well.

Speaking at the meeting with the 15th Finance Commission, Patil said, “Mumbai’s position as commercial capital since Independence is being diluted due to the Centre’s concentration on a new city in the neighbouring state.”

He said no other city can match Mumbai’s business culture and atmosphere and added that the Finance Commission in its award should give special grant to the Greater Mumbai Region.

Patil proposed a competition based on performance among the states on human development index, infrastructure, gender equality, finances and policing among other issues.

He also recommended that all the states should submit outcome budgets along with the financial budget, which will bring more transparency on the expenditure of the states.

According to Patil, Maharashtra, which is more burdened with migrating population, should get the maximum weightage while calculating devolution of taxes.

He urged that a VAT-empowered committee type structure for the GST council, which is apolitical, should be formed to save GST tax rating from any political bias.

“We support the economic logic of common market but not the political logic of uniformity of politics and culture. In case of VAT empowered committee, we always had one of the finance ministers of any state as chairman and the Union government had their representative on the committee. But now in the case of GST council, the chairperson is the Union finance minister himself.

“We are seeing some political decisions in taxation being taken. Their timing of decisions is based on timing of elections, without given due consideration for implications on all other states,” he said.

Patil suggested that Vidharbha and Marathwada’s imbalance of development can be removed by special grant of Rs 35,000 crore each year for five years.

The Commission should to focus on central India and its connectivity to all major ports in India, he said, highlighting that the connectivity of East Vidharbha and Chattisgarh to eastern and western coast through high-speed rail and road transportation can boost the economy.

Instead of a proposed bullet train between Ahmedabad and Mumbai, he suggested that central India, especially Nagpur, should be connected to Mumbai or any major port on the eastern coast with the help of high-speed trains and a formidable road network.

The 15th Finance Commission, headed by N K Singh, is on a three-day visit to the state, and is scheduled to meet the chief minister, ministers and other officials of the state, leaders of various political parties, representatives of trade and industry, urban local bodies and Panchayati Raj institutions.

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