Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If civic bodies fail to utilise the allocated funds within the stipulated time, the unspent funds should be transferred to those that register optimum utilisation.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac made this suggestion to the Fourth State Finance Commission at the valedictory function of the two-day consultations held here for finalising the terms of reference of the commission on Saturday. Specific targets should be set to utilise the funds in each quarter and if they fail to perform, the unutilised funds should be given to the best performer, he explained.

The Minister urged the commission to conduct a case study on the property tax revision system. When the government made an attempt to switch to the plinth-area based tax system, there was an uproar and the plan had to be abandoned. Rather than trying to introduce new taxes, the commission should revisit the system. The State will have to wait till the implementation of GST to study its impact.

Preparation of perspective plans is a key factor of decentralisation, but it cannot be mechanically imposed on the civic bodies without assessing their capability. Burdening them with the system may lead to a collapse of the planning mechanism at the grassroot level. The existing system of civic bodies expending 80 per cent of the funds in one month in the last quarter too should be taken up seriously, he said.

The commission should give due importance to the declining Plan ratio. The fall in the Central allocation of funds to the States is a matter of concern, he said.

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