FM Sitharaman rejects Kerala's fund neglect claims, highlights timely disbursement

FM Sitharaman rejects Kerala's fund neglect claims, highlights timely disbursement

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 25 (PTI) Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday dismissed allegations by Kerala's Left government of negligence in fund allocation and claimed that the Central government promptly sends the required funds to the people of the southern state without any delay.

Responding to the Left government's allegations of not releasing funds under various categories, she pointed fingers at the state government, alleging that it was due to the state's failure to meet the necessary criteria.

Criticising the ruling CPI(M)-led alliance, which has announced a protest in New Delhi in January against the alleged neglect by the Central government, the finance minister claimed that the highest amount of Finance Commission Grants has been released to Kerala from 2009-10 to 2023-24 under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'Under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), all the pending liabilities and the first tranche of 2023-24, covering senior citizen pensions, amounting to Rs 602.14 crore has already been released to Kerala in October 2023,' the finance minister said.

She said this while addressing the Credit Outreach Programme organised at nearby Attingal.

'On the issue regarding 7th UGC pay revision, the Ministry of Education has informed that the Scheme of 50 per cent Central share (7th CPC), through reimbursement was given to those state governments who adopted and implemented the revised pay scales as per the 7th CPC, subject to fulfillment of all the conditions laid down in the scheme and submission of the complete proposal as per the guidelines on or before 31st March, 2022.

'The Kerala government didn't fulfill the requisite conditions; hence the funds couldn't be released,' Sitharaman said.

She said since the onset of COVID-19, the Central government has provided states with 50-year interest free loans as Special Assistance for Capital Investment, where Centre bears the interest cost.

'One thing the Kerala government had to do was to follow the branding guidelines of the Parliament-approved Centrally Sponsored Schemes. It can't be re-branded by the state government according to its will. Hence, the money couldn't be released. If we still release the money, the CAG will question us and not the state government,' the finance minister said.

On the issue of health grants, she said the Kerala government needs to fulfill the stipulated conditions and recommendations of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as the 15th Finance Commission. Only then the particular grants can be released by the Centre.

The minister said under the National Food Security Act, an amount of Rs 259.63 crore has been released to the Kerala government towards the claims for the years 2018-19 to 2022-23.

'For the GST Compensation Cess, the claim for any state has to be authorised by its Accountant General (AG). The Kerala government has requested the Government of India not to release the GST Compensation Cess until the revenue numbers are re-worked by them with the AG. If the state government doesn't get their numbers right with their own AG, how will the Centre release the Compensation Cess?,' she asked.

Later in a post on 'X', the minister said, 'Since 2009-10 to 2023-24, highest amount of Finance Commission Grants has been released to Kerala under Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi-led government.

Providing details of allocations made to Kerala and said, 'Whatever amount has to go to the people of Kerala from the Central government is being sent in time, without any delay.' This is for the first time Sitharaman responded to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Finance Minister K N Balagopal's accusations of the Centre's negligence since the Left leaders started targeting the Union government constantly on the matter. She asserted that the state receives funds without delay.

This also comes as the Left Democratic Front (LDF) gears up to protest in New Delhi against what they claim is the BJP-ruled Centre's neglect of the state.

Chief Minister Vijayan, along with Cabinet colleagues, Left MLAs, MPs, and other leaders, are set to participate in the protest.

The LDF has criticised the Central government for neglecting Kerala in various sectors, stating that the state is yet to receive Rs 58,000 crore in aid it deserves. PTI TGB TGB KH

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated feed.

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