Govt sets up Fin Commission; to look into pricing of utilities

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday constituted the 14th Finance Commission under the Chairmanship of former RBI Governor Y V Reddy, which among other things, will suggest steps for pricing of public utilities like electricity and water in an independent manner.
Announcing the formation of the Commission, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said it will look into issues like disinvestment, GST compensation, sale of non-priority PSUs and subsidies.
The other members of the Commission, which will submit its report by October 31, 2014, include Former Finance Secretary Sushma Nath, NIPFP Director M Govinda Rao, Planning Commission Member Abhijit Sen and Former Acting Chairman of National Statistical Commission Sudipto Mundle.
The recommendations of the Commission, set up under the provisions of the Constitution on sharing of tax proceeds between the Union and States, will apply for the period beginning April 1, 2015.
Among other things, the Commission would look into the "need for insulating the pricing of public utility services like drinking water, irrigation, power and public transport from policy fluctuations through statutory provisions".
Asked whether the government is giving a signal for price hike of public utilities, Chidambaram said: "We are not giving any signal. We are only highlighting matters (relating to) the management of nation's finances over the five year period from 2015 … These are matters which cannot be ducked or shrugged away. We have to face these matters".
Finance Commission is set up every five years to suggest principles governing the distribution of tax proceeds among Centre, States and local bodies.