Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday rejected the allegations of southern states, including Tamil Nadu, that the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission were biased against them and said it would benefit states that took population control measures.
"An issue that has been raised by certain vested interests over the last few days... Baseless allegations are being made about the ToR of the 15th Finance Commission being biased to the states of a particular region," he said after inaugurating a building of the Cancer Institute (WIA) here.
"Let me tell you our critics seem to have missed something. The Union government has suggested to the Finance Commission to consider incentivising states who have worked on population control. By this yardstick, states like Tamil Nadu, which has devoted a lot of efforts, energy and resources towards population control, would certainly benefit."
He said it was not the case earlier.
Southern states have been complaining about the ToR of the Finance Commission saying their interests would be harmed in the matters of resource allocation because of their better performance on population control and economic growth.
The issues was first raised by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, which was followed by BJP's ally-turned-foe Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
On Tuesday, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issaac convened a meeting of southern Finance Ministers which was attended by representatives from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry, in which they called the ToR a "threat to federalism".
Modi said the Union government was committed to cooperative federalism.
"Our Mantra is 'Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'. Let us all work together to build new India, which would make our freedom fighters proud," he said.
Earlier in his speech, he said the Union government had planned setting up 20 state cancer institutes and 50 tertiary care cancer centres in different parts of the country.
"Proposal can be approved for eligible institutional up to Rs 45 crore for tertiary care cancer centres and up to Rs120 crore for setting up of state cancer institutes. I am happy to note that the proposal of 15 states cancer institutes and 50 tertiary care centres have been approved so far," he said.
Modi also said 40 new All India Institute of Medical Sciences were being set up with focus on oncology and its various aspects.
Also, eight existing institutions were being upgraded with provision of oncology services under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), Modi added.