15th Finance Commission may submit interim report to President on Saturday

15th Finance Commission panel members during a meeting
The Fifteenth Finance Commission is expected to submit an interim report to President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday, November 30.

The report is likely to have recommendations on the divisible tax pool — the funds that are divided between the Centre and the states, and among the states — for 2020-21 only, Business Standard has learnt.

As reported earlier, the Commission is likely to get its term extended by six months because it has to examine devolution to the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in accordance with the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

The government is yet to give fresh terms of reference to the panel regarding Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, even after the two union territories came into being on October 31. Nor has an extension been notified. These are expected later this week, on or before November 30.

A senior official confirmed an interim report would be submitted on Saturday. “It will recommend devolution for a year starting April 1, 2020, to enable Budget preparations,” the official said.

The report will enable Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her bureaucrats to prepare the 2020-21 Budget. This course of action — of submitting an interim report by a Finance Commission — has at least three precedents.

Officials said the interim report would not be made public immediately. 

“The president will forward the report to the government. The finance ministry will table it in Parliament with its comments,” another official said, adding that it would be done before the winter session ended on December 13. 

The extension was given to accommodate the states of Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, and Chhattisgarh, which came into existence in November 2000.

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