Times of India | 2 weeks ago | 23-11-2022 | 08:38 am
Belagavi: The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) has suddenly got a boost with the neighbouring Maharashtra government’s decision to request the Supreme Court to expedite the hearing in the border dispute. A 19-member committee of leaders of all parties in Maharashtra took the decision on Monday to request the apex court to expedite the hearing on the border dispute. The government has appointed two cabinet ministers — Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai — to oversee developments in the apex court.The decision has come at a time when MES needs a boost before state elections.The Maharashtra government has also announced to extend social schemes such as health insurance, benefits of Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the Marathi linguistic community in Karnataka border areas. The schemes will continue until the verdict of the Supreme Court.The Maharashtra government has also decided to double the pension to the next of kin of people who died fighting in the border dispute. Five people died in1956 and nine died in 1986. The Maharashtra government has veeb giving pension to those families from 2001. The pension amount has been increased to Rs 20,000 from Rs 10,000.Most MES leaders have welcomed the decisions by the Shinde government.However, the pro-Kannada organisations have objected the pension announcement. They have objected the statement of Shinde calling them freedom fighters.Senior pro-Kannada leader Ashok Chandaragi alleged that the Maharashtra government is provoking Marathi people in the border areas by calling them freedom fighters and sanctioning them pension. “In the federal system, this is against the constitution and should not be allowed. CM Basavaraj Bommai should consider it seriously,” he said.
exEXPENDITURE ON pension has emerged as one of the major components of the Committed Expenditure of the Centre and states in recent years. In fact, it was higher than the ‘salary and wages’ expenditure of the Centre and three states – including Gujarat – during 2019-20, according to official data.Incidentally, the Old Pension Scheme (OPS) has figured as a prominent poll promise in the Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat Assembly elections, even triggering debates beyond the political arena. Two Congress-ruled states – Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh – have already decided to implement the OPS, while the party has promised to restore it in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh if it comes to power.According to data available with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), the Centre’s total Committed Expenditure was Rs 9.78 lakh crore during 2019-20, which included an expenditure of Rs 1.39 lakh crore on ‘salary and wages’, Rs 1.83 lakh crore on pensions and Rs 6.55 lakh crore on ‘interest payments and servicing of debts’.The Centre’s total Committed Expenditure accounted for 37 per cent of its total revenue expenditure of Rs 26.15 lakh crore in 2019-20.“The Committed Expenditure in respect of the Union Government consists of 67 per cent on Interest Payment and Servicing of Debt. The remaining 19 per cent and 14 per cent expenditure constituted the expenditure on Pensions and Salary and Wages respectively. It is apparent that expenditure on pensions is more than the expenditure on salaries and wages,” reads the CAG report titled ‘Union and State Finances at A Glance’ for 2019-20.According to the report, the Centre’s pension bill was 132 per cent of its expenditure on salary and wages in 2019-20, the last year for which comparable data for the Centre and states is available. This was just ahead of the Covid-19 outbreak in India in 2020.The pension bill also exceeded the salary and wages expenditure across three states – Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal – in 2019-20.In Gujarat, the pension bill (Rs 17,663 crore) was 159 per cent of the expenditure on salary and wages (Rs 11,126 crore). Similarly, Karnataka’s pension bill (Rs 18,404 crore) was 126 per cent of the state’s expenditure on salary and wages (Rs 14,573 crore). And for West Bengal, the pension bill (Rs 17,462 crore) was 103 per cent of the expenditure on salary and wages (Rs 16,915 crore).The data shows that the combined pension bill of 30 states and Union Territories, for which comparable data is available, stood at Rs 3.38 lakh crore in 2019-20, which was 61.82 per cent of their combined expenditure (Rs 5.47 lakh crore) on salary and wages. Across five states – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha – the pension bill accounted for over two-third of their expenditure on salary and wages.The expenditure on pension is one of the key components of the government’s Committed Expenditure. The other two are the expenditure on salary and wages and interest payment and servicing of debt. If the Committed Expenditure is higher, it means that the government has lesser flexibility to determine the purpose for which revenue expenditure is to be incurred.During 2019-20, the total Committed Expenditure of all states stood at Rs 12.38 lakh crore (Rs 5.47 lakh crore on salary and wages; Rs 3.52 lakh crore on interest payment and servicing of debt; and Rs 3.38 lakh crore on pension), which was almost half – 45 per cent – of their combined revenue expenditure of Rs 27.41 lakh crore.The expenditure on pension in Rajasthan – where the Congress-led state government has decided to implement OPS – was Rs 20,761 crore in 2019-20. This is almost 42.7 per cent of its expenditure (Rs 48,577 crore) on salary and wages. Similarly, Chhattisgarh’s pension bill (Rs 6,638 crore) was 30.62 per cent of the state’s salary and wage expenditure (Rs 21,672 crore).However, in Himachal Pradesh, where elections recently concluded, the pension bill (Rs 5,490 crore) was 47 per cent of the salary and wage expenditure of Rs 11,477crore.The latest edition of the Handbook of Statistics on Indian states, released by Reserve Bank of India on November 19, shows that the combined pension expenditure of all states and UTs has doubled to Rs 3.45 lakh crore in 2019-20 from Rs 1.63 lakh crore in 2013-14. In fact, the pension expenditure further increased to Rs 3.68 lakh crore in 2020-21 (revised estimate) and was budgeted at a higher at Rs 4.06 lakh crore for 2021-22 (BE).
A HIGHER borrowing limit to increase fiscal space available to states; enhancement of funds under the scheme for special assistance for capital investment; limiting the scope of centrally sponsored schemes. These were some of the key demands made by finance ministers of states and union territories in their pre-Budget meeting Friday with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Tamil Nadu and Bihar called for limiting centrally sponsored schemes, saying that states end up shelling out more funds for sustaining them. The Centre should increase its share of transfers to reduce states’ burden, they said. Chhattisgarh sought funds from the Centre for implementing the Old Pension Scheme.Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said all states, irrespective of the political party in power, expressed a common theme at the meeting — that states’ fiscal autonomy is constrained by the extent of centrally sponsored schemes, by the extent of changing ratios of funding of such schemes.“…and by the fact that states have to top up 2x, 3x and 5x of what the Union gives and still it is centrally sponsored or PM scheme…in old age pension, Tamil Nadu pays Rs 1,000 a month, the Union Government of India only gives Rs 200 a month. Every state, every minister of BJP-government states made the same exact request and many have asked for an extension of GST compensation and also 3.5 per cent fiscal deficit limit,” he told reporters.Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) are implemented by state governments but funded jointly by the Central and state governments with a defined sharing pattern. Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said these schemes should be limited as the burden on states for them is increasing and Centre should implement only Central schemes if they want to help states. He also said that the borrowing limit should be fixed at 4 per cent of GSDP for states.The Old Pension Scheme found mention in the meeting, with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel asking for Rs 17,240 crore to be returned from the new National Pension System, which will be deposited in a separate pension fund to be used for future pensionary obligations. “Funds should be given for OPS which has been implemented in Chhattisgarh,” he said after the meeting.Finance Ministers of Assam, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Nagaland, Odisha and West Bengal did not attend the meeting.The Union Finance Ministry said in a statement after the meeting that “most of the participants thanked the Union Finance Minister for financially supporting their States/ Union Territories by enhancing borrowing limits, providing two advanced devolution installments and through Special Assistance for capital expenditure. The participants also gave numerous suggestions to the Union Finance Minister for inclusion in the Budget Speech.”More funds for capital expenditure were also demanded by many states, including Maharashtra, Meghalaya and Bihar. Maharashtra put up a proposal of projects worth Rs 3,000 crore under schemes of special assistance to states for capital investment.Although the state has received a grant of Rs 6,800 crore, it urged Centre to consider additional allocation of Rs 3,000 crore for various projects. “The Centre has come up with a very good scheme for special assistance to states for capital investment. Its size has been increased from Rs 15,000 crore during the year 2021-22 to Rs 1 lakh crore for the year 2022-23. This will help states,” Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said.Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said he has demanded an increase in capital assistance given to the states. “Have asked for a system where it should be linked to the population. Village-based schemes should be stressed on,” Sangma said.Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said he has sought special assistance towards capital expenditure. “We have demanded that state-promoted renewable projects be included in the green bond funding scheme,” Reddy said.Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur sought better road, rail, air connectivity in the state to promote tourism, and wanted GST on apple packaging to be reduced to 12 per cent from 18 per cent.Pending dues of compensation cess were also sought by states. Chhattisgarh’s Baghel further urged for continuation of the system of GST compensation for the next five years after June 2022 and demanded Rs 1,875 crores as GST compensation for April-June along with coal royalty amount of Rs 4,140 crore. Royalty for minerals extracted in the state should be increased, he said, adding that it was to be fixed every three years but has not changed over ten years.
NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court set to hear petitions on Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute from Wednesday, the one-upmanship between the two states has escalated, with Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday announcing his government’s decision to offer special grants to Kannada-medium schools in Maharashtra and pension to Kannadigas in the neighbouring state who fought for “unification” of the state. The move comes close on the heels of Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde promising pension to “freedom fighters” from Belagavi and other parts in Karnataka, which are claimed by Maharashtra. Shinde also spoke of extending benefits of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (cashless medical care) for such “freedom fighters”. Maharashtra, since its inception in 1960, has been entangled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (renamed Belagavi) and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages in the southern state. The Karnataka chief minister on Tuesday expressed confidence of protecting the state’s borders and said his government had formed a strong legal team to present Karnataka’s case, which included ex-attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, senior advocate Shyam Divan, Karnataka’s ex-advocate general Uday Holla and advocate Maruti Jirale. Shinde had on Monday set up a committee of 14 members to give suggestions and guide Maharashtra’s team of lawyers on its petition filed in the apex court in 2004. Bommai further asserted that Karnataka was prepared to challenge the maintainability of the petition. The State Reorganisation Act of 1956 was passed under Article 3 of the Constitution and after the reorganisation of states, there was no instance of any review petition ever being considered, he claimed. Bommai also cautioned Shinde against creating a row between the two states, which are in harmony. “I want to tell the Maharashtra chief minister and the government not to create a controversy between states when there are harmonious relations, when we are treating everyone equally,” Bommai said. “The border dispute is a political tool used by all parties in Maharashtra. But they will never succeed,” Bommai said. With agency inputs
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday announced that the kin of “martyrs” in the struggle over border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka will be given pension like freedom fighters.“We have decided to extend the benefits of the CM relief fund to the residents of the border area. We are also planning to extend Mahatma Phule Jan Aarogya scheme benefits to the people in this area. In addition, kin of those martyred during the border dispute will be paid pension along the line of freedom fighters,” said Shinde in a high-power committee meeting on the Karnataka-Maharashtra border dispute.Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, whose BJP is in power in Karnataka, said the issue will be resolved in a democratic manner. “We all stand with the residents of the border area. All political parties stand together….”Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil, and State Excise Minister Shambhuraj Desai, have been appointed to coordinate the process as the matter is in Supreme Court.Shinde said they will be meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home minister Amit Shah on this issue.In November 1956, after the division of states on the basis of language, Belgaum, Dharwad, Bijapur and Karwar from the then Bombay state were joined with then Mysore state. Maharashtra staked claim on 865 villages. The Centre-appointed Mahajan commission recommended 264 out of 865 villages to Maharashtra. The state approached the apex court Court in 2004 and the matter is still pending.
PUNE: A 74-year-old retired woman principal from Kothrud lost Rs 20 lakh on November 15 and 16 after falling prey to a KYC update fraud. As per the FIR, the woman received a text message to update her Know Your Customer (KYC) details or else her bank account would be deactivated. "The woman contacted the number mentioned in the SMS. The person who answered the call sought her bank account, debit card and other details. The cybercrook transferred Rs50,000 each in 40 transactions from her pension account to his bank accounts and e-wallets," said senior inspector Rajendra Shahane of the Alankar police on Saturday. Shahane said the woman received text messages regarding the transactions between 9.30pm and 1.30am, but she did not see the texts. The bank, suspecting foul play, froze her account with Rs3 lakh to prevent further transactions.