Priyanka Kumari | Nov 18, 2023 |
Centre’s insistence on claiming credit for schemes in State unfair: K.N. Balagopal
The Central government‘s insistence on taking credit for schemes executed in the states is unfair, according to Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal.
He told reporters here that the relationship between the Centre and the State did not exist on an ‘owner-slave’ basis but on an equal footing. Mr Balagopal highlighted examples of schemes in which the state was spending the larger share, and he claimed that insisting on branding them in favour of the Central government was unfair.
In the case of the LIFE Mission housing scheme, the state has spent Rs. 16,000 crore on approximately 4 lakh houses during the last five to six years. He emphasised that the Central share accounted for only a minor percentage of this cost.
Similarly, the Central Government contributed just Rs. 600 to the monthly wage of Rs. 13,500 paid to mid-day meal cooks. “In Kerala, 62 lakh individuals receive social security pensions. Only around 5.5 lakh people receive Central support,” Mr Balagopal explained.
He noted that the Centre’s insistence on branding schemes in its favour came at a moment when states such as Kerala were facing significant reductions in Central allocations. He stated that with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, states relinquished 44 % of their taxation rights, compared to the Centre’s 28 %.
Mr Balagopal stated that the state would raise the issue in New Delhi, emphasising the necessity of a “healthy and democratic” Centre-State relationship in this context.
Mr Balagopal stated that if Kerala received its due share from the Centre, it would not accumulate arrears on different payments such as Social Security pensions and dearness allowance (DA) for government employees. He noted that the Central component of the State’s revenue receipts has reduced from 44% in March 2021 to 29% presently.
The State’s LDF and UDF MPs would jointly take up the State’s financial difficulties with the Centre, referring to a resolution made at the MPs conference chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday.
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