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Cabinet extends 15th Finance Commission’s tenure up to November

It will enable the Commission to examine various comparable estimates for financial projections in view of reforms
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the extension of the term of the Fifteenth Finance Commission up to November 30. It will enable the Commission to examine various comparable estimates for financial projections in view of reforms and the new realities to finalise its recommendations for the period 2020-2025.

Cabinet approves amendment to Terms of Reference

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also approved a proposed amendment to enable Fifteenth Finance Commission to address serious concerns regarding the allocation of adequate, secure and non-lapsable funds for defence and internal security of India.

The Commission was constituted in 2017

The Fifteenth Finance Commission has been constituted by the President in November 2017 in ‘pursuance of clause (1) of article 280 of the Constitution and Finance Commission (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1951. The Commission was to submit its Report on the basis of its Terms of Reference (ToR) by October 30, covering a period of five years commencing from April 1, 2020.

The backdrop

The constitution of the Commission has been in the backdrop of various major fiscal/budgetary reforms introduced by the Union government in the past four years like the closure of the Planning Commission and its replacement by NITl Aayog, removal of distinction between Non-Plan and Plan expenditure, advancing the budget calendar by one month and passing of the full budget before the commencement of the new financial year ie on February 1, introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 2017 and New FRBM architecture with debt and fiscal deficit path.

What is ToR?

The ToR of the Commission takes into account the above fiscal/budgetary reforms. The task of determining the expenditure and receipts of the Union and state governments based on which the Commission shall make its recommendations is time consuming, as checks for data consistency across time and data sets become challenging.