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Odisha to lose out on Central grant over delay in state fin commission report

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 22:

Odisha is most likely to lose a larger chunk of the Central grant as the 4th Finance Commission set up by the state government is yet to submit its report to the 14th Finance Commission.

Leave alone the report, the State Finance Commission is yet to complete its district tour even as its tenure is going to expire on April 30 this year.

In a letter to the state government on Monday, the State Finance Commission, while expressing its inability to complete its assignment in time, has sought an extension of its tenure by at least six months to enable it to submit the report.

It may be mentioned that the state government had, on October 31 last year, formed a 4-member State Finance Commission with retired IAS officer Chinmay Basu as the chairman, retired Professor of Economics of Utkal University Adwait Prasad Mohanty and former bureaucrat DP Ray as members and additional secretary, Finance Pradip Kumar Biswal as the member secretary.

As per the government notification, the tenure of the Commission was fixed for six months i.e. till April 30, 2014.

The Commission was entrusted with the task of determining the quantum of financial assistance to the panchayats and local self government bodies from the state exchequer for a period of five years beginning April 15, 2015.

Sources in the government said that the Commission has neither formulated any policy nor completed its district tour.

while it has completed the tour of Jharsuguda, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Phulbani and Bargarh districts. it is yet to cover the remaining 24 districts.

While the enforcement of model code of conduct has put a brake on the progress of the Commission’s work, there has been no report from any district or department on queries posed by it.

The Commission has, so far, conducted meetings with the panchayat and local self government representatives and sought opinions and suggestions from experts by conducting a national level workshop. But it is yet to work out the mode of implementation of the recommendations of the 3rd State Finance Commission in the districts, the sources added.

It may be recalled that the state government has submitted its memorandum to the 14th Finance Commission during its recent visit to Odisha.

“As the 14th Finance Commission is scheduled to submit its report to the Centre in December, the State Finance Commission must submit its report to the state government by July. If the report fails to reach the Central Commission by August, it is most likely that Odisha would lose a major chunk of the Central grant”, said a senior official of the Finance department.