Thiruvananthapuram: While Bengal tigress Mamata Banerjee is working on a electoral front against BJP in the 2019 general elections, the southern states of the country are forging an alliance to counter the Central government’s attempt to usurp the powers of the states.

The finance ministers of all South Indian states are meeting on April 10 in Thiruvananthapuram to protest against the Centre’s move to disrupt the federal powers. The Andhra Pradesh finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu is leading the FMs of Southern Indian states at the meeting.

The finance ministers are strongly objecting to the terms and conditions set forth for the 15th Finance Commission (FFC) for devolution of funds. Particularly, they are against the terms that 2011 population be taken as the base, GST be enhanced and welfare schemes for the poor be reduced.

The meeting is going to demand that the terms and conditions of the FFC be fixed with the consultation with the states.

“Already the subsidy component for the poor has been reduced by one per cent last year. This shows the Centre has no real concern for the poor”, said the AP FM.

The FFC conditions enable enhancement in the Centre s revenue while slashing the states share in Central taxes.

Moreover, the weightage proposed to be given to low income states would result in higher fund flow to non-performing states, pointed out Ramakrishnudu and observed, “This would be detrimental to the southern states”.

Stating that the Centre claimed that devolution of funds rose from 32 to 42 per cent as per the 14th Finance Commission recommendation, he said in reality the financial burden on the states increased by 30 per cent because the funding pattern for Centrally-sponsored schemes was made 60:40.

“The Centre is trying to usurp the powers of the states. Is this cooperative federalism,” he asked.

The Centre should consult with all states before formulating the FFC guidelines and do justice, he demanded.