The 15th Finance Commission led by its chairperson NK Singh on Monday, 9 November, submitted its report for fiscal years 2021-22 to 2025-26 to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Commission members Ajay Narayan Jha, Anoop Singh, Ashok Lahiri, and Ramesh Chand, along with panel Secretary Arvind Mehta accompanied the chairperson in the meeting with the President.
Last year, the commission had submitted its report consisting of recommendations for 2020-21 fiscal, which was accepted by the Union government and tabled in Parliament on 30 January 2020.
As per the terms of reference (ToR), the commission was mandated to give its recommendations for the five-year period by 30 October.
The commission was asked to give its recommendations on many unique and wide-ranging issues. Apart from the vertical and horizontal tax devolution, local government grants, disaster management grants, the commission was also asked to examine and recommend performance incentives for states in many areas like power sector, adoption of DBT, solid waste management etc.
The panel was also asked to examine whether a separate mechanism for funding of defence and internal security ought to be set up and if so, how such a mechanism could be operationalised.
The commission has sought to address all its ToRs in the latest report, organised in four volumes.
Volume I and II, as in the past, contain the main report and the accompanying annexes. Volume III is devoted to the Union government and examines key departments in greater depth, with the medium-term challenges and the road map ahead. Volume IV is entirely devoted to the states.
The commission analysed the finances of each state in great depth and came up with state-specific considerations to address the key challenges that individual states faced.
The report entitled, 'Finance Commission in COVID Times', uses scales on its cover to indicate the balance between the states and the Union.