Kerala Finance Minister Slams Centre For Not Allotting Funds, Reducing Borrowing Limit
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac on Thursday alleged that the Centre was "strangulating" the state by not allotting any funds and had reduced the borrowing limit by around Rs 8,000 crore.
"In the last quarter, our borrowing limit was Rs 10,023 crore, but yesterday the centre gave us the permission only for for Rs 1,900 crore," Isaac said at a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram.
In the last fiscal the state had got a loan amount of Rs 19,500 crore, but this year it had been been slashed to just Rs 16,602 crore, he said.
The centre's stand amounts to "strangulating" the state, he said, adding this would only result in "worsening" the country's financial condition. However, the welfare funds like scholarships, medical aid to poor and subsidies would not be affected, he said.
"Though welfare funds like subsidies will not be affected, the major government expenditure will have to wait and rescheduled after considering the availability of funds," the minister said.
The Rs 1,600 crore Goods and Services Tax compensation from the centre to the southern state had not yet been given and Kerala has no idea when it would receive the amount, he said.
Isaac also claimed the Centre had not paid arrears to the state related to the centre's schemes, including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The Centre had on Jan. 6 approved the release of Rs 5,908.56 crore to seven states, including Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam, as assistance for the damage caused due to various calamities last year.
However, the demand of Kerala for over Rs 2,100 crore to tide over the devastation caused by last year's heavy rains and landslides, which claimed over 120 lives in north Kerala, was not accepted.
After the centre refused to allot any fund to Kerala as assistance for the damage caused due to various calamities last year, the Food Corporation of India has asked the state to pay Rs 205 crore for 89,450 metric tonnes of rice allotted as flood relief during 2018-19.