Thiruvananthapuram : Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan said that the budget presented by the Union Finance Minister in the Parliament does not seek any way to solve the growing economic disparities and further strengthens the concentration of corporate capital. The budget has an unbalanced regional approach.
The Chief Minister of Kerala responded that the budget speech did not include Kerala’s long-needed All India Institute of Medical Sciences and did not include any mention of Kerala’s rail development. This is disappointing for the state.
In the budget speech, the Union Finance Minister – Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman said that the fiscal deficit of the states in the fiscal year 2023-24 will be 3.5 percent of the states’ domestic revenue. This is outside the 3 per cent normal limit and 0.5 per cent power supply reform requirement. No relaxation has been announced except for reiterating the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission.
The fiscal deficit of the Center will be 6.4 percent. At least 4 percent needs to be allocated to states reeling from the effects of Covid. This has not been considered.
Despite the announcement that interest-free loans to states for capital expenditure will continue this year, the budget speech indicated that there are many conditions attached to this. This is not in accordance with the principles of cooperative federalism. Expert studies have found that economic inequalities are increasing in countries including India. There has been no move by the central government to impose a fair tax on the super rich.
98,467.85 crore has been spent on the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Scheme for the financial year 2021-22. 89,400 crore as per the revised figures for 2022-23. 60,000 crore has been allocated in the budget for 2023-24. The central government has been making gradual cuts in the budget allocation for an important centrally-initiated scheme. This should be corrected.
15097.44 crore was spent on central projects in the health sector in 2021-22. As per the revised figures for 2022-23, it has come down to 11,868.63 crores. It has come down to Rs 8,820 crore in the budget allocation for 2023-24.
27,447.56 crore was spent on National Health Mission in 2021-22. It is Rs 28,974.29 crore in the revised figures for 2022-23. It is Rs 29,085.26 crore in the budget estimate for 2023-24. A nominal increase of just 0.42 percent. These are indications that the health sector has not been given enough attention.
The state government will take all steps to find out which of the schemes earmarked for the states in the central budget are beneficial to Kerala and utilize them to the maximum extent. The Chief Minister of Kerala asked the central government to take a sympathetic approach to the railway and other infrastructural development projects of Kerala and make the necessary announcements in the budget session itself.