Kerala CM says union budget ignores state's needs

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan

Thiruvananthapuram | Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday criticised the interim budget presented by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, alleging that it neglected Kerala's interests and ignored the various development demands of the state.

In a statement, Vijayan highlighted the absence of new announcements for institutions like AIIMS, new trains, rail surveys, and lack of decisions on projects like the Angamaly-Sabarimala Sabari rail and track doubling.

None of Kerala's reasonable needs have been addressed in the budget, he said.

"The central budget has been formulated in a way that neglects Kerala's needs and interests. Demands such as protection of domestic rubber cultivation through increased import duties were disregarded, as were Kerala's agriculture sectors like paddy, coconut, and spices," the CM said.

Referring to the budget's vision of India becoming a developed nation by 2047, he said that it failed to prioritise empowering the states, and remarked that the budget's fiscal approaches were exacerbating regional imbalances, undermining state interests, fueling inflation, and burdening the people.

Vijayan said the Centre disregarded the demand to increase states' borrowing limits and said the budget reduced the amount of public credit available for states' capital expenditure.

He also pointed out that the Revised Budget Estimates showed reduced spending by the central government in many areas compared to last year's allocations, including in agriculture, education, healthcare, social welfare, and development for marginalised communities.

He also pointed out the reduced expenditures on fertilisers, food grains, and employment initiatives, saying it suggested a neglect of employment generation promises.

Vijayan expressed disappointment that even in an election year, the needs of the common people of the country and Kerala were not considered in the central budget.

He criticised the BJP government's approach towards the poor, and pledged that the Left Democratic Front government would continue to fight for the rights of the state and its people.

Meanwhile, the budget evoked positive response from the industry in Kerala, which hailed it as a careful balance between the current investment rate and fiscal discipline.

Dr M I Sahadulla, Chairman of FICCI Kerala State Council, said the interim budget was deep rooted on the fundamentals of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' for the comprehensive development of society.

"It is a careful balance between current investment rate and fiscal discipline," Sahadulla said.

He said the government's commitment for housing development through 'Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana', expanding and strengthening the EV ecosystem and domestic tourism, the increased thrust on infrastructure development such as airports and railway corridors, development of new airports and green energy sources would propel India towards becoming a developed nation by 2047.

Sahadulla said it was also heartening to note the continued commitment from the government towards the MSME sector.

The proposal for the long term interest-free loans for projects under the tourism sector in the states is also a welcome move, he said.

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