Puducherry: Stating that the reply of the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the floor of Lok Sabha that Puducherry will not be included in the 15th Finance Panel and that the central assistance will not be hiked to 45 per cent to it, is highly unfortunate, disappointing and disheartening, former Lok Sabha member from here Prof.M Ramadass said on Thursday.
He said the Members of Parliament and the Government of Puducherry should jointly strive to get enhanced financial assistance from the Government of India besides working for the inclusion of Puducherry in the Finance Panel.
In a statement here, Prof Ramadass said this stand of the Union Finance Ministry would undoubtedly worsen the already tottering fiscal system of Puducherry compelling it to mount its public borrowing which has already reached unsustainable levels.
There is no substantive reason for rejecting the long pending demand of the Union territory to be part of Finance Panel recommendations except that it is an Union Territory.
Nominally, Puducherry is an Union Territory but functionally it is a State and it has almost all features of a State like Goa, he added.
The former Lok Sabha MP said the distinction between the Union Territory of Puducherry with a legislature and other States of India is only minor and small. It is highly unjust and regrettable that this simple fact is not recognised by the Centre and it is in this backdrop that some of the members of the XI Finance Commission (FC) pleaded for the inclusion of Puducherry in its recommendations.
But this saner advice fell into deaf ears and the Home Ministry has not included Puducherry even under the ambit of the FC constituted for Union Territories without legislature. Thus Puducherry is neither here nor there, Prof Ramadass added.