THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will pay Rs 205.81-crore dues to the Centre on account of the additional rice allocation following the 2018 flood. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan signed the file for payment following the Centre’s ultimatum to adjust the amount in the normal food subsidy. The state had earlier requested the Union government to waive the amount.
The payment is to be made to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for the 89,540 tonnes of rice that the state sourced in addition to the normal allocation from its warehouses in 2018-19. The FCI had sent repeated reminders to the state regarding the payment.
Meanwhile, Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Friday held consultation with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman ahead of the Union Budget. He submitted a charter of demands covering a range of subjects, from raising the state’s borrowing limit to seeking sanction for the SilverLine project as well as a Vande Bharat train.
“Kerala is staring at a big crisis owing to a cut of Rs 23,000 crore from Central sanctions. Decrease in revenue deficit grant, end of GST compensation and adjusting off-budget borrowings in net borrowing ceiling (NBC) of the state are among the reasons for this. The shortage will be Rs 32,000 crore next year,” Balagopal told reporters in New Delhi after his meeting with Sitharaman.
He said the state has asked the Centre to change the GST revenue sharing ratio from 40:60. Other demands raised by Balagopal included extending GST compensation given to states to another five years, sharing cess revenue with states, increasing the Centre’s share in centrally sponsored schemes as well as in social security pension.
Special allocation for Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme, an AIIMS and a rehabilitation scheme for non-resident Keralites have also found a place in the state’s wish-list.