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Finance Commission: Will Watal be next Chairman?

By IndianMandarins- 07 Dec 2023
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New Delhi (07.12.2023): If well-placed sources are to be believed, the name of former Union Finance Secretary (Expenditure) Ratan P Watal (Retd IAS: 1978: TG) is under consideration for the post of Chairman, Finance Commission.

Under the Chairmanship of former top bureaucrat N K Singh, the Fifteenth Finance Commission completed its term which was constituted in November 2017, in the backdrop of the abolition of Planning Commission (as also of the distinction between Plan and non-Plan expenditure) and the introduction of GST, which has primarily redefined federal fiscal relations.

As sources say, Watal is the foremost choice of the New Delhi establishment for the key constitutional position to succeed N K Singh. It may be recalled that after his retirement as Union Finance Secretary (Expenditure Secretary), Watal was picked as Principal Adviser for social sector in NITI Aayog (up to October 2021) and simultaneously became instrumental into the revival of PM’s Economic Advisory Council. Currently, he is working as Board of Directors with TB Alliance, a New York-based global not-for-profit organization. It may be underlined that he still remains a confidante of New Delhi establishment while looking after some key issues.

The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under article 280 of the Constitution, mainly to give its recommendations on distribution of tax revenues between the Union and the States and amongst the States themselves.

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