Nirmala Sitharaman's claims about timely payment of funds misleading, false: Kerala CM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reaches Thiruvambadi in Mukkam as part of the Nava Kerala Sadas. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kozhikode: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's claim that the Centre releases the required funds to the state government without delay was misleading.

Talking at Thiruvambadi in Mukkam as part of the government's outreach programme Nava Kerala Sadas, Pinarayi said it was the state government that paid the Rs 579.95 crore, which the Centre owed it, to the social security fund. "Nirmala Sitharaman's claim is false. The Centre cleared the state's arrears after it came under severe criticism for sitting on the amount for three-and-a-half years. The delay created a lot of financial difficulties for the state. The situation now is such that the state has to bear the financial burden if the Centre is not ready to grant the funds to which it is entitled. The Centre is approving funds only for certain kinds of projects. The finance minister is trying to hide the facts," he said.

Responding to Sitharaman's statement on the GST Compensation Cess, he said the state has submitted all accounts to the Accountant General (AG) correctly. "It is understood that the details of all the accounts have been forwarded by the AG."

Sitharaman had said for the GST Compensation Cess, the claim for any state has to be authorised by the AG. "The Kerala government has requested the Government of India not to release the GST Compensation Cess until the revenue numbers are reworked by it with the AG. If the state government doesn't get its numbers right with its own AG, how will the Centre release the Compensation Cess?" she said.

Regarding the paddy rice share, the CM said: “Sitharaman says the state has to deposit its share in the account. The state has already put in its share. It is the Centre that is yet to pay its share of Rs 790 crore. The claim that the Centre allotted a grant of Rs 34,714 crore to Kerala need not be seen as generosity. That state is being pulled through a crippling financial crisis because of the Centre's unnecessary delay in paying the amounts of different grants, aids and shares of taxes,” said Pinarayi.

He further said not even half of the loss has been met yet. “The share of the tax income to be distributed to the states is also getting lower,” he added.

With the introduction of GST, the state's taxing power and tax share have been reduced. The amount the state has to receive has been withheld since 2018.

About the UGC grant, Pinarayi said the Centre was only clearing the dues it owes the state, which paid the amount in full. “We are forced to borrow loans as the Centre won't disburse the amounts we are entitled to on time. The finance minister has conveniently skipped providing clarification on these matters,” said Pinarayi.

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