The 15th Finance Commission on Sunday held meetings with representatives of Rajasthan’s Panchayati Raj institutions, urban development bodies, trade and industry, and economists as part of its consultation process for making recommendations for the 2020-25 period.
According to an official release, the commission headed by chairman NK Singh along with its members and senior officials met with the representatives of Rajasthan Panchayati Raj institutions (PRIs).
The Commission expressed concern over issues pertaining to accounting of PRIs, including accountability mechanism and financial reporting of the Panchayati Raj Institutions in the State continues to be weak.
Of the total 10,219 PRIs, only 6,802 (66.5 per cent) of PRI Accounts were certified by Department of Local Fund Audit, of which only 20(0.2 per cent) PRI accounts were certified without qualification, it added.
As per the statement, out of 23 functions transferred, funds and functionaries were transferred in 15 out of 23 subjects.
The commission noted all the concerns highlighted by the representatives of the PRIs and promised to address them in its recommendations to the central government.
Rajasthan has a total of 10,220 PRIs, of which 9,892 are Gram Panchayats, 295 Panchayat Samities and 33 Zila Parishads.
Meanwhile, the 15th Finance Commission also held a meeting with economists in Jaipur on September 8, 2019, in coordination with the Government of Rajasthan and CUTS International.
Many issues pertinent to fiscal devolution and issues specific to improving the economic growth of Rajasthan have been discussed in the meeting.
The major points raised by the economists during the meeting include deficit management of governments is a matter that needs to be carefully handled with full recognition of contingent liabilities. At the same time, considering the investment requirements of the Indian economy, it is also important to ensure that future fiscal policy crowds in private investment.
Another concern raised by the economists was corrections attempted in the power distribution sector in terms of UDAY scheme affected the deficit position of the Government of Rajasthan considerably. Going forward, the assessment of the expenditure and revenue deficit of the State should take this into account.
The 15th Finance Commission also met with the representatives of the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) of Rajasthan.
The Commission was informed 16 out of 18 functions envisaged in the Twelfth Schedule of the Constitution have been devolved to ULB’s. Water Supply function is partially devolved and urban planning is yet to be devolved to PRIs.
Rajasthan has a total of 190 ULBs, of which 149 are Municipal Boards, 34 are Municipalities and 7 are Municipal Corporations.
The 14th Finance Commission had recommended for the period 2015-20, a devolution of Rs 3611 crore to Rajasthan as Basic Grant ( 5.2 per cent of total grants) and a devolution of Rs 903 crore as Performance grant ( 5.2 per cent of total grants).
The commission also met with the representatives of the Trade and Industry bodies in Rajasthan.
Representatives of Industries and Trade Associations present in the meeting included representatives of Rajasthan Chamber of Commerce & Industry, CII Rajasthan, Federation of Rajasthan exporters, Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, United Council of Rajasthan Industries, FICCI, FORTI, Jaipur Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Laghu Udyog Bharti, PHDCCI, Jaipur.