The Indian Cabinet has extended the fifteenth Finance Commission’s term by a year, asking it to submit an interim report for fiscal 2020-21 and a full report for 2021-22 to 2025-26. This will enable the commission to examine comparable estimates for projections in view of reforms to finalise its recommendations from 2020 to 2026, said an official release. The cabinet decision means the commission will recommend its award to six fiscal years, instead of the usual five.
Article 280 of the Indian constitution States that the President shall constitute a Finance Commission at the expiration of every fifth year or at such earlier time as he considers necessary. “The Constitution just mandates that every five years a Finance Commission has to be set up. Today’s cabinet decision is not in contravention of that,” said an official.
The commission’s interim report will enable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her bureaucrats to prepare the 2020-21 Budget. Union territories usually get their resources from the Central Government’s share of the divisible pool, but the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act mandates the commission to treat the two Union Territories as a State. Ladakh, on the other hand, is expected to get funds out of the centre’s share, like any other Union Territory, according to a report. The commission was said to be given more time considering the creation of new Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.