Kerala government lying over financial crisis; Centre not responsible: V Muraleedharan
Union Minister V Muraleedharan slammed the Kerala government for misleading people over financial crisis and blaming the Centre for the same. He said that in some cases, funds might have been withheld as the State did not follow procedures or did not apply by the deadline.
Thiruvananthapuram: Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Monday (Nov 13) said that the Kerala government's claim that the Centre was responsible for the State's financial crisis, was a blatant 'lie'. Presenting a set of figures on Central transfers under various components, Muraleedharan blamed the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government's financial mismanagement and extravagance for Kerala's fiscal struggles, claiming that the Centre had transferred funds to the State in all eligible cases. He said that in some cases, funds might have been withheld as the State did not follow procedures or did not apply by the deadline.
Under the 7th Pay Revision Commission, the State lost Rs 750 crore in pay revision arrears due to mistakes on the part of the State Government. The deadline for the State to submit its recommendation to receive the funds was March 31, 2022, however, the State failed. He said that despite two reminders from the Centre, the State has not replied.
The amount fixed by the Fifteenth Finance Commission in the fiscal deficit grant is transferred to Kerala in fixed installments. The Revenue deficit grant is given to 17 states of the country as per Finance Commission norms. In the first year, the state governments will know how much they will get each year. To say "less now" is a deliberate misrepresentation. Kerala is one of the states that has received the highest revenue deficit grant in the country.
Last month, the State received the Central portion of social security pensions, including arrears. In this context, Rs 6,04.14 crore was transferred under the widow, disability, and old age pensions. According to him, the State has not yet submitted the application for the second installment.
The State has not yet received capital expenditure assistance for Central initiatives totaling Rs 1,925 crore. The main obstacle is not adhering to the norms. According to the Union Minister, the State failed to submit the compliance report by the deadline of September 30 and hasn't done so even as of the first week of November.
The Centre has already transferred Rs 421.81 crore in 2022–2023 towards the health grant that is distributed through local bodies. According to him, the State has not followed the rules, hence the remaining Rs 137.14 crore has been reserved. The State received transfers of Rs 259.63 crore as part of the National Food Security Act's allotment. He stated that there are no arrears under this component.
The State Government has occasionally let the Central allocation expire or diverted it for other uses. Kerala has only spent Rs 7,855.95 crore of the Rs 13,286 crore approved under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana in the fisheries industry, he said. The central government is responsible for the repayment of the borrowing done in the name of 'off-budget borrowing'. The limit of 3% of GSDP has been set because if each state is allowed to borrow as it likes, the financial stability of the country will be compromised.
As early as 2017, it was agreed between the Center and the states that the GST compensation would end on June 30, 2022. Anticipating that, the state government did not take any steps to increase its own tax revenue. Moreover, this year the GST department was reorganized in the state after six years. Kerala is in a financial crisis due to the wastefulness, mismanagement and financial mismanagement of the Pinarayi Vijayan government.