Over 75 per cent of Kerala’s elderly covered under pension schemes: RBI

Earlier the Finance Commission had suggested to the state to focus on systemic provisioning for welfare of the elderly.

Published: 18th January 2023 07:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2023 07:02 AM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Over 75% of the elderly population in Kerala is covered under different pension schemes, says the Reserve Bank of India’s annual report on state finances for 2022-23, released on Monday. Based on the 2011 Census, the report pegged the elderly population in the state at 65.46 lakh.

Out of this, 29.43 lakh get old age pension, 3.88 lakh agriculture labour pension, and 12.08 lakh welfare fund board pension. The state and central government pensioners amount to 4.45 lakh. Thus, a total of 49.84 lakh get pension from one way or other and this constitutes 76.13% of the total elderly population, it says.    

Earlier the Finance Commission had suggested to the state to focus on systemic provisioning for welfare of the elderly. The commission observed that Kerala was ageing faster than the rest of the country and the age dependency ratio for the state was 19.6 a per the 2011 Census.

Quoting the revised estimate for 2021-22, the RBI report says the state’s gross fiscal deficit was Rs 46,395.5 crore. Of this, Rs 22,672.7 crore (48.9%) was met by market borrowings, Rs 10,466.4 crore (22.6%) by loans from the Union government, Rs 10,058 crore (21.7%) by  provident fund and similar resources, it says. The general provident fund of state government staff,  consisting only employee contribution, is parked in the public account of the government. This is one of the major sources of the state government to make up for the fiscal deficit, the report hints.

Outstanding liabilities 39.1% of GSDP

Quoting the budget estimate for FY 2023, the report pegs the total outstanding liabilities of the state government at Rs 3,90,859.5 crore. This is 39.1% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Kerala is ranked ninth in terms of the liabilities-GSDP comparison.  The share of social sector expenditure by Kerala in total disbursements showed a significant drop in recent years, the report says. The percentage of social sector expenditure came down from 38.7 in 2020-21 to 34.5 in 2021-22 and 34.6 in 2022-23. Kerala’s ranking in social sector expenditure by states dropped from 18th in 2021 to 28th in 2023.

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