KOCHI: Having assumed office as the new finance minister of Kerala, KN Balagopal said the state economy would be strained further if petroleum and liquor are brought under GST.
“The state is getting very little support from the Centre. Going forward, we also face the likelihood of petroleum and liquor too being brought under GST, which means tightening the state’s finances further,” Balagopal told TNIE. Unemployment is increasing and the prices of agricultural goods are plummeting because of Covid, he pointed out.
“Because of Covid, markets outside the state -- both in other parts of the country and overseas -- have become inaccessible for farmers, resulting in price decline,” he said. The focus will now be on helping people who have lost their livelihoods and to support farmers, he added. Meanwhile, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called up Balagopal after the oath to congratulate him.