Gehlot accuses Centre of weakening States

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre of making States “financially weaker” by reducing its share in Centrally sponsored schemes and taking policy measures that had led to a significant reduction in the States’ share from the divisible pool.

Mr. Gehlot extended support to West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who has written a letter to all Opposition parties and raised the issue of the Centre stopping the devolution of funds to the States as well as the violation of constitutional and democratic norms. Mr. Gehlot said he had raised the similar issue of “step-motherly treatment” from the Centre in the State Assembly.

“On the one hand, the Prime Minister talks about cooperative federalism, and on the other hand the States are being made financially weak… The States are not even getting their full share in the Goods and Services Tax,” Mr. Gehlot tweeted.

The Chief Minister said the Union government had imposed a cess on diesel and petrol and was constantly reducing basic excise duty, while the special excise duty and additional excise duty were being increased. Because of this, the share of States from the divisible pool had significantly reduced, he said.

Providing details of the devolution of funds, divisible pool and changes in the sharing pattern of Centrally sponsored schemes, Mr. Gehlot said the actual share of States had come down from 41% to 34%. He said though the financial devolution to States from the Central tax revenue had been increased from 32% to 42% from 2015-16, it had not benefited the States because of their higher share introduced in the Centrally sponsored schemes.

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