THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state Assembly on Thursday passed the Vote on Account with 76-25 majority. Heated discussions took place before the voting with members discussing the budget proposals. Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the debt situation is not very serious as made out by the Opposition and said the government can take loans up to 3% of the state GDP and there can be marginal increase of 1% to 1.5%.
He referred to the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) enacted in May 2003 which had set fiscal deficit targets. In May 2016, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley set up a committee under the chairmanship of former revenue secretary N K Singh to study the impact of FRBM Act. It recommended the government to target a fiscal deficit of 3% of the GDP and to cut it to 2.5% by 2023.
Participating in the discussion, R Ramachandran of the CPI said that the Left government had done a lot of relief work after the devastating floods and has allocated funds to all the deserving without looking at their political affiliations.
He said when the Tsunami struck in 2004, the UDF diverted funds to Palai and Kanjirappally which were not at all impacted by the disaster. He also called upon the minister to strengthen the SuppplyCo. Kollam MLA M Mukesh said that while the UDF legislators were criticising the government for not allocating funds from KIIFB, his constituency received `32 crore for the Perumon bridge project which was a long-pending demand of the local residents.
Ubaidulla of the Muslim League said his constituency received only `1.10 crore from KIIFB even though he had submitted proposals worth `50 crore. He hit hard against state government for curbing the media freedom and asked why the state government was trying to hinder free-media. He said the government is afraid of the independent and free media because it has to cover up several things. MLAs Sunny Joseph, P K Basheer, C K Saseendran, Shafi Parambil, U R Pradeep, Vijayadas and I B Satheesh participated in the discussion.