Kerala FM flags cut in MGNREGA funds, senses threat in Union Budget proposal

Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal
Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal. File photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal has expressed displeasure over the Union Budget 2023-24 as he said the long-pending demands of the state were ignored by the Centre. Balagopal sensed a threat in the Budget announcement that the centrally sponsored schemes are going to be made ‘result basis’.

Stating that the proposals in the Budget were not beneficial for people at the grassroots level, Balagopal flagged the drastic cuts in allocations for major schemes.

The state minister also raised concerns over a new scheme mentioned in the budget regarding the cooperative sector.

Addressing a press conference here, he said he doubted if the new scheme is an attempt by the Centre to infringe into the area of cooperative societies, which is a state subject.

Balagopal pointed out that allocations in major schemes including Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme, food subsidy and for the procurement of rice and wheat were cut down drastically.

He said the announcement of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the centrally-sponsored schemes (CSS), which is "input basis" at present, are going to be made "result basis" would be a threat to states like Kerala.

“It sounds good when you hear this for the first time. But the thing is, who is assessing this result? There lies the danger," the minister said.

Several long-pending demands of Kerala, including AIMS, were ignored this time also, Balagopal said, adding that the Union Budget had only some big announcements but people at the grassroots level would not benefit from it.  

(With inputs from PTI)

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