Fight for State’s rightful share, Finance Minister tells UDF

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Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal on Saturday urged the United Democratic Front (UDF) to fight for the State’s rightful share from Central pool instead of blaming the State government for the State’s financial situation.

Despite the adverse fiscal policies of the Central government, the State government was successful in ensuring that the people were not denied their benefits, Mr. Balagopal told a press conference here.

Kerala had reported high revenue growth in the past two years, but the large cuts in its share imposed by the Centre were presenting problems for the State, he said.

On August 18, Mr. Balagopal had accused UDF MPs of not supporting the State government’s efforts to claim its share from the Centre.

Mr. Balagopal pegged the Onam month spending of the government at roughly ₹18,000 crore, which included regular and additional expenses.

This included ₹400 crore spent on market intervention during the festival season, ₹1,900 crore on social security pensions, ₹630 crore on bonus, festival allowance, and advances, ₹140 crore as support to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, and ₹ 320 crore to the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) for paddy procurement and market intervention programmes. The government was also spending ₹10 crore on the Onam week celebrations.

Mr. Balagopal also indicated that the treasury regulations, tightened ahead of Onam, were likely to be eased next month.

Earlier this month, the Finance department had issued orders placing restrictions on the treasury from clearing bills over ₹5 lakh. The limit was reset from the ₹10 lakh limit set earlier this year.

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