States are asking for more funds in a pre-budget meeting with Nirmala Sitharaman

State Treasury ministers in their budget consultation stepped up their calls for more funding, greater say in the implementation of centrally funded programs and an increase in mineral royalty payments. These issues were raised by states at a meeting convened by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to gather their views on the 2023-24 budget, due to be presented on February 1.

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister P. Thiaga Rajan said that states across party lines said that centrally funded programs limit states’ fiscal autonomy, as in some programs states end up making a large contribution that is more than contribution of the center.

“All states, regardless of political party, voiced a common theme. States’ fiscal autonomy is severely constrained by the scale of centrally funded schemes and by the scale of changing funding relationships for such schemes,” Thiaga Rajan told reporters.

States demanded more flexibility in implementing CSS. CSS are implemented through a joint contribution of the Union Government and the State Government

Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said centrally funded schemes should be capped as states’ burden on such schemes increases. The center should only implement central sector programs if they want to help states, he said.

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said he had called for an increase in capital aid to the states. “I asked for a system where it should be population-based. Village systems should be valued,” said Sangma.

Andhra Pradesh Finance M. Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said he applied for special support for capital expenditure. “We have called for government-backed renewable projects to be included in the green bond funding program,” Reddy said.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur strove to improve road, rail and air connectivity in the state to boost tourism. GST on apple wrappers will be reduced from 18 percent to 12 percent, said Thakur, who holds the finance portfolio.

Chattisgarh Prime Minister Bhupesh Baghel called on the center to release funds to implement the old government employee pension scheme.

He also called for an increase in royalties on minerals mined in the state and different royalties for different grades of coal and iron ore.

According to a Haryana government notice, Chief Minister ML Khattar requested that the center give Haryana a special economic package since 14 districts of the state fall within the National Capital Region and many resources must be devoted to building and maintaining infrastructure in these areas .

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