Kerala Govt Spends Rs 18,000 crDuring Onam Despite Financial Hurdles
Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) government has belied the claims of the Opposition and a section of the media a few days before Onam that the treasury was on the verge of being empty and the festival would be dull.
Despite financial constraints, the Pinarayi Vijayan government reached out to all sections of the population during Onam and checkedCPI-based inflation through “market intervention”. Last month, the chief minister said that Kerala has the lowest inflation.
As per the latest Fitch Ratings, Kerala’s‘Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings’ wasrevised from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’.
Both the Congress-led UDF and the NDA had criticised the LDF government for the financial constraints.
Finance minister KN Balagopal has repeatedly pointed out the Centre’s“double standards”after it reduced Kerala’s official borrowing limit from 3% to 2%.But the state increased its own tax revenue from Rs 47,000 crore in 2021 to Rs 71,000 in the 2023 financial year.
The LDF governmentspent around Rs 18,000 crore during Onam, including Rs 1,900 crore on pensions to 60 lakh people, Rs 630 croreon festive allowances to government employees and pensioners and Rs 400 crore on market intervention by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supply Co), which provided 13 essential goods at half the market price.
UDF, BJP ‘HAND IN GLOVE’
The LDF has accused the UDF and BJP of acting against the interests of Kerala’s people. The Centre has refusedto disburse Rs 3,680 crore pending dues to the state while UDF MPs have refrained from raising the issue in Parliament.
Though UDF MPs participated in a meeting convened by Vijayan regarding the Kerala’s financial concerns, Balagopal accused them of refraining from signing the memorandum and meeting the Union finance minister.
“UDF MPs are not worried about the strangulation enforced by the Union government on the state and the people of Kerala. Why don’t they understand the financial sanctions unilaterally imposed by the BJP government?”Balagopal wrote in an articlein the Malayalam daily Deshabhimani.
Balagopal accused the UDF and BJP of “blindly opposing the LDF for petty political gains by remaining silent on the crisis imposed on the state”.
“The Opposition leader has claimed that the crisis is due to the state government’s failure in collecting taxes. However, he has failed to understand that the Union government is not paying fair shares to several state governments. We have to understand that the UDF leaders are not even uttering a word against the Union government for such discriminatory policies against the states,” he wrote.
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