Centre open to state finance ministers’ panel on debt

New Delhi: The central government could consider formation of a committee of state finance ministers headed by the Union Finance Minister to address issues relating to states’ debt burden, parliament was told on Tuesday.

Informing Rajya Sabha during Question Hour that the issue had been raised recently in the Inter-State Council, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said a such a committee could indeed be formed.

He was responding to Trinamool Congress member Derek O’Brien’s suggestion for setting up a committee to provided debt-burdened Astates “some level of confidence”.

O’Brien noted that several states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, have huge debts.

In his reply, Jaitley also emphasised that two-thirds of the Central Sales Tax (CST) amount has been disbursed to the states, while the balance one-third would be paid.

He also said the 14th Finance Commission had resulted in a siginificant increase in the amount given to the states by the Centre.