Kerala Finance Minister: State not facing very acute financial crisis
Balagopal says D900 crore needed for social security, welfare pensions, D667 cr sanctioned
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the government began distribution of social security pensions, welfare pensions and aid to farmers, Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Friday said the state was not facing an extremely acute financial crisis.
“The government will require around Rs 900 crore to distribute social security and welfare pensions. The finance department has issued an order approving Rs 667 crore for five types of social security pensions,” he told reporters.
“The government is spending huge amounts on various welfare measures and farmer support. I already said funds will be made available after Diwali. Yet, there has been criticism against the government, perhaps due to the 2024 elections,” Balagopal said.
He said the government had started paying dues to farmers like rubber subsidies, paddy and coconut procurements, besides giving reimbursements to Jankeeya Hotel, honorariums to Asha workers, pensions to endosulfan victims, scholarships to minorities, and SC/ST students. He also said dearness allowance dues were pending.
“The government spent Rs 23,350 crore on social security pensions so far and the total is expected to reach Rs 56,000 crore in five years,” he said.
Balagopal reiterated that the Centre was holding back the share of revenue receipts due to the state, thereby strangulating opposition-ruled states like Kerala financially.
“We are yet to receive the Rs 6000-crore reimbursement due to us. I have said that the relationship between the Centre and state is not that of a master and slave. We are equal partners,” said Balagopal.
On Union Minister V Muraleedharan’s allegations that the state was not releasing a white paper on finance, Balagopal said all the documents were available publicly.
Balagopal said the government decided to increase the wages of anganwadi and ASHA workers. While wages of anganwadi workers and helpers who served for more than 10 years will be hiked by D1,000, that of the rest will be hiked by D500. ASHA workers will also get D1,000 hike, he said.