Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 19 June 2024 5.16 PM IST

"Not expecting any change in central approach as Nirmala Sitharaman becomes finance minister again"


Former finance minister and LDF candidate from Pathanamthitta Dr. Thomas Isaac Thomas Isaac said that Modi's second government with Nirmala Sitharaman as the finance minister has created a financial crisis by cutting the normal credit of the Kerala government by revising the credit norms that were in force in the country till date and when the same Nirmala Sitharaman becomes the finance minister again, no change in the central approach can be expected.

The central government imposed this economic embargo against Kerala with the full support of the UDF. There will be only one MP in the Lok Sabha to advocate for Kerala. Perhaps the Center will adopt a more discriminatory stance towards Kerala, which is ready to file a case against the Center for the first time in the country regarding finance.

In 1999, the Kerala Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the KIIFB Act. In 2016, the KIIFB Act was unanimously revised. Meanwhile, loans were taken through KIIFB during the UDF govt. But not once was the KIIFB loan treated as a government loan. Other off-budget loans like these are not usually treated as government loans. The central government, which has been taking off-budget loans to the tune of lakhs of crores of rupees every year, also considers them as off-budget loans while writing the accounts. They are not treated as central government debt.

This rule has been amended by the central government. The argument is that the center can do it and the state can't. UDF has no protest regarding this issue. Let the Supreme Court decide whether the central government has the right to do so. But how do you make changes to an existing standard retroactive? The Center's position is that the loans taken by KIIFB will not be considered as government debt, but the loans from 2016 will be included in the government debt. Even in this regard, UDF is not ready to take the approach of protecting Kerala's interest.

The struggle against central division will have to be strengthened. Public perception created by UDF, media and some pundits about Kerala's fiscal deficit and debt burden needs to be debunked. The question should be raised in front of the people who are the beneficiaries of the development works such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, industrial parks etc. which are going on in Kerala should not have been taken up. Isaac wrote on Facebook that while carrying out this agitation campaign, priorities must also be set to ensure the safety and well-being of the people in the context of the current crisis.

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