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States asks for higher budgetary allocations in pre-budget meeting with FM

Ahead of the Union Budget for 2018-19, finance minister Arun Jaitley held consultations with finance ministers of various states who offered their inputs on various budgetary measures and called for higher budgetary allocations. The meeting was attended by the chief ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry, the deputy chief ministers of Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Manipur and Tamil Nadu, 14 finance ministers/ministers representing their States, among others.

Though, the suggestions by various states were not disclosed, but is said that Andhra Pradesh has sought Rs1500 crore to develop industrial estates and a waiver of revenue deficit norms.Tamil Nadu suggested including the surcharge on the super-rich and other surcharges in the divisible pool of resources to the States and requested to raise the standard deduction permitted for the personal income tax from Rs1.50 lakh to Rs 2.50 lakh and accord similar revision for elderly people.

Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister of Bihar Sushil Kumar Modi said that economically backward States like Bihar needed additional central assistance so as to develop at a faster pace, while some States also sought higher devolution of resources on the ground that fund allocations had been reduced from the Centre due to reduction of horizontal devolutionary share, with the setting up of the 15th Finance Commission.

The Union Finance ministry in its statement after the meeting said that the suggestions made by the States and Union Territories in the meeting and the memorandum submitted by them would be duly examined and suitably considered while formulating the Budget proposals of 2018-19, keeping in consideration with the spirit of cooperative federalism.

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