Kerala sees record tax revenue growth under LDF government, says K N Balagopal

“The state’s own tax revenue rose from Rs 47,661 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 74,258 crore in 2023-24, a rise of Rs 26,398 crore or 60%.
Finance Minister K N Balagopal .
Finance Minister K N Balagopal . File | B P Deepu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tax revenue growth under the two Pinarayi Vijayan-led governments has been better than the previous UDF government, and the last three years saw a huge jump in the state’s own tax revenue, Finance Minister K N Balagopal said in the assembly on Monday.

“The state’s own tax revenue rose from Rs 47,661 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 74,258 crore in 2023-24, a rise of Rs 26,398 crore or 60%. Tax revenue rose by Rs 8,000 crore during the first Pinarayi Vijayan government, which faced challenges like the flood and Covid outbreak. Not even one-third of this was achieved in the preceding UDF government’s tenure,” Balagopal said while replying during a discussion on demand for grants.

Balagopal said this tax revenue growth was the highest in the state’s history. Kerala, he said, is likely to buck the trend of its public debt doubling every five years. “Until now, public debt doubled every five years. However, the last three years’ figures show this time, it will not increase at that rate,” he said.

Citing numbers, Balagopal said public debt was Rs 89,418 crore when UDF came to power in 2011-12.

This rose to Rs 1,57,350 in 2015-16 and Rs 2,57,900 in 2020-21, he said, adding that loans worth Rs 15,891 crore of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and the Kerala Social Security Pension Ltd (KSSPL) were not included in public debt during the first Pinarayi government. The deposit in the public account, Rs 91,617 crore, was also not included, he said.

However, the loans were included in public debt from 2021-22 with retrospective effect, Balagopal said, adding that the Centre effected a cut of Rs 1,07,515 crore in the state’s borrowing limit during the last seven years citing deposits in public account leading to the state’s financial crisis.

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