Sun, 20 Oct 2019

New Delhi [India], June 24 (ANI): Leading economists of Karnataka on Monday raised concerns over large infrastructure gaps and widening democratic deficit during a meeting with members and senior officials of the 15th Finance Commission.

In the area of democratic decentralisation in which Karnataka is a pioneer, various recent studies and trends related to the third tier of the government were discussed with the commission headed by its Chairman N K Singh.

With regards to urban local bodies, attention was drawn towards increasing fiscal needs due to rapid urbanisation. Karnataka has a total of 280 urban local bodies of which 115 are town municipal councils, 92 are town panchayats, 58 are city municipal councils, 11 are municipal corporations and 4 notified area councils.The Commission said that there have been no releases of performance grants to urban local bodies in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Revenue from advertisement tax for urban local bodies was estimated to be Rs 200 crore in 2018-19. However, the Goods and Services Tax subsumed this tax.

Economists gave suggestions on how to increase revenue collection and improve land management, according to a statement.

While commending Karnataka's good fiscal performance, experts highlighted the large regional inequality which exists within the state. They said incentives should be given to states which have done better population control.

The Commission also met representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) of Karnataka. All 29 functions of PRIs as envisaged in the 11th Schedule of the Constitution have been devolved to them and the state has been releasing funds as per the recommendations of the 4th State Finance Commission (2018-19 to 2022-23).

Karnataka has a total of 6,228 PRIs of which 30 are Zila Parishads, 177 Taluk Panchayats, and 6,021 Gram Panchayats.

The 14th Finance Commission had recommended the devolution of Rs 8,359.79 crore to the state as basic grant (4.64 per cent of total grants) for the period 2015-20 and a devolution of Rs 928.87 crore as performance grant (4.64 per cent of total grants). (ANI)

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