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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 25 July 2024 6.45 PM IST

Kerala demands financial package of Rs 24,000 crores

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NEW DELHI: Kerala has demanded a special economic package of Rs 24,000 crore in a meeting called by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ahead of the third Modi government's first full budget presentation.

State Finance Minister KN Balagopal also put forward demands such as a 'VISL Package' worth Rs 5,000 crore for the development of Vizhinjam International Port and the port sector, Rs 5,000 crore for projects, including the Kozhikode-Wayanad tunnel, and a support price of Rs 250 for rubber. He also raised a demand for quick approval for the SilverLine project.

Kerala sought special financial assistance for two years to overcome financial difficulties and to advance on the path of development. Urging the union government to review the restriction on open market borrowings, minister Balagopal said the state was currently borrowing much lower compared to the limits set for it.

"It is on account of changes introduced in the calculation of Borrowing Ceilings such as inclusion of public accounts and the borrowings of state-owned enterprises. Hence, this policy has to be reversed. The state is losing about Rs 5,710 crore each this financial year and the next fiscal year. This is due to the introduction of a new measure by the Union government, in retrospective effect, to cut the borrowing limit of the state for the borrowings of KIIFB and Pension Company done in the year 2021-22. Hence, the prejudicial decision with retrospective effect needs to be reversed," Balagopal said.

Minister Balagopal also demanded that the state should be allowed to borrow an amount equal to the Rs 6000 crore it spent on land acquisition for the development of the national highway. Besides these, various long pending demands of the state like establishing an AIIMS in Kerala, starting an International Research Institute in Ayurveda at Kannur, allowing more express and passenger trains to the state and changing the GST revenue sharing mechanism from the present 50:50 ratio to 60:40 ratio in favour of the state governments were also raised in the discussion. The state also demanded that the central share of centrally funded schemes should be increased to 75 per cent. The central government's share of welfare schemes should also be increased.

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