Underlying idea is to fuel robust economic growth: Kerala FinMin KN Balagoal

The Opposition has dubbed his budget as one full of non-practical suggestions. Economists are worried as there are no measures for austerity despite mounting public debt.

Published: 12th March 2022 06:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2022 06:37 AM   |  A+A-

Finance Minister K N Balagopal presenting the budget using  an iPad | Vincent Pulickal

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition has dubbed his budget as one full of non-practical suggestions. Economists are worried as there are no measures for austerity despite mounting public debt. But LDF leaders and his cabinet colleagues shower bouquets on Finance Minister K N Balagopal. On Friday evening, Balagopal spoke to TNIE, reviewing the budget he presented earlier in the day. Here are the excerpts: 

Which one is your favourite among the announcements? 
All are my favourites. Still, if you ask me to pick one, I would highlight the budget’s approach. That is to link farming, education and industries with production and economic growth. In fact, this is the underlying idea of my budget which would help in robust growth of economy. 

What were the major challenges before you while drafting the budget? 
Obviously, the challenges posed by the Union government. The GST compensation will be stopped by the end of June. The quantum of revenue deficit grant is going down every year. 

If there would be a considerable increase in fuel prices in coming days, there will be a cascading effect on the prices of essentials as well. 

We have allocated Rs 2,000 crore for measures to mitigate price rise. But the impact of the fuel price rise and the Ukrainian situation is yet to be known. Maybe, we will be forced to allocate more in the future.The state’s debt position has already crossed the fiscal responsibility and budget management limits. Still, the budget did not have a plan to address it. 

We are taking a lot of measures to bring the debt under control. The outstanding liability has come down from the previous year’s 37.4% of GSDP. Maybe, there are no big announcements on expenditure control because we cannot cut committed expenditures. But every effort has been made in the budget for rationalisation of expenditure. The state is dependent on borrowings. 

The budget has announced the formation of a committee to look into the fair value of land. Its purpose? 
The government had received several complaints on the anomalies in fair value. For example, a piece of land in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram city and another in the suburbs are priced the same. The value of land has increased tremendously in areas touched by major development projects like NH development and metro rail project.


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