Hyderabad: Southern states are uniting against Centre’s attempts to fund northern states at the expense of the south. The Kerala government has already called for a meeting of the southern states on April 10 for which AP and Karnataka have extended their support. There has been no official communication from Telangana and Tamil Nadu so far on attending this conference.
The Telangana government continues to flip- flop on this issue ever since it had received invitation from the Kerala government to attend the meeting. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is learnt to have asked finance minister Etela Rajender to attend the conference first. But Mr Rao changed the stand all of a sudden while he was speaking in the Legisla-tive Assembly last week.
“Already, reports of north-south divide are coming to the fore regar-ding devolution of taxes by the Centre. This is not good for the country or for national integration. I don’t support such arg-uments. But the Centre should think twice before formulating such policies,” Mr Rao said.
However, Mr Rao rema-ined non-committal on Telangana attending the meeting called by Kerala. Finance department sou-rces said that the Tel-angana CM might take a final call by April 8 or 9 on whether to attend the meet or not.
Mr Rajender has been asked to be available in the city till April 10 to fly to Kerala immediately in case the CM wants Telan-gana state government to attend the meeting.
AP finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnu-du has already confirmed his participation in the meeting.
“The southern states would stand to lose substantial percentage of their revenues, and at the same time the revenue share of the Centre increases if 2011 Census is taken as basis. Why the Centre didn’t discuss the issue with the state governments before finalising the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission?”Mr Ramakrishnudu asked.
“Taking unilateral decisions on such important issues is not proper on the part of the Central government. Going by the Central government’s attitude, it appears that it wants to bring pressure on the Finance Commission, which is an autonomous body, to help north Indian states. The Terms of Reference of the latest Finance Comm-ission proves this point,” Mr Ramakrishnudu said.