KOCHI: It’s a no-brainer liquor contributes a major share of revenue to the Kerala exchequer from among the public sector enterprises but, now statistics have revealed the exact extent. As per the latest statistics available, liquor sales by Bevco brought in a whopping 97.30 per cent of the exchequer’s revenue from among 90-odd PSEs in the state. Bevco contributed Rs 9,803.45 crore, according to the latest available data from the Bureau of Public Enterprises. This is just over 10 per cent of the total revenue receipts of the state government, which stood at Rs 95,342 crore in 2015-16.
The next biggest share is from the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) which is placed a distant second, accounting for a mere 0.73 per cent or Rs 73.15 crore of the exchequer’s revenue during the same period.The other major contributors are Malabar Cements (Rs 58.38 crore or 0.58 per cent), KSFE (Rs 43.27 crore or 0.43 per cent), Kerala State Construction Corporation Ltd (Rs 19.84 crore or 0.20 per cent), KTDC (`8.95 crore or 0.09 per cent), KFC (Rs 6.47 crore or 0.06 per cent), Traco Cable Company (Rs 5.11 crore or 0.05 per cent) and Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation (Rs 4.16 crore or 0.04 per cent).
Nimish Sany, a research assistant at the Kochi-based Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), pointed out the rationale behind the public sector enterprises (PSE) was to ensure goods and services to the weaker sections of the society.“But PSEs are caught between social welfare and economic performance. This puts a dent on the exchequer and years of consistent losses prove this,” he said.
Mary George, former chairperson of Public Expenditure Review Committee, said mismanagement and massive corruption were the main reasons for the PSEs’ sorry state of affairs.“There is no justification for the losses or poor revenue generation of the PSEs especially in sectors such as tourism, where the KTDC is struggling while private players are making big profits,” she said.
On the other hand, PSEs like KSRTC is treated as just an organisation to feed its employees out of tax payer’s money due to rampant corruption.
“We all know the KSRTC is no longer the preferred transport provider of the common man, and it keeps off the profit-making routes, ceding the route to private buses,” she said. Bringing in professionals to head PSEs is the only way to revive the loss-making companies, Mary said.
According to the Revenue of Public Enterprises, overall profitability was reported from only four sectors only during 2014-15 as against the six sectors during the previous year.“It is important to note the public enterprises which provide goods and services to the public at lower prices, owing to many subsidies from the government, will not affect large market players who have huge presence in the sector, but adversely affect small and medium enterprises who will not be able to compete with the state. To improve the business climate in the state, it should be a prerogative to gradually phase out PSEs,” said Sany.