Kerala to feel the crunch as Centre to cut Rs 6,000cr from its loan: Thomas Isaac

Kerala to feel the crunch as Centre to cut Rs 6,000cr from its loan: Thomas Isaac
Finance Minister Thomas Isaac

New Delhi: The Centre did not respond favourably to Kerala's suggestion to increase spending and relax the fiscal deficit target for overcoming the economic slowdown, state's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said Friday.

Isaac was addressing reporters at the Kerala House after attending the pre-budget meeting with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here. The meeting was part of the 35th meeting of the GST Council held here Friday.

He said the central government was not in agreement with the view that states should be allowed to take more loans.

He further said that in the coming financial quarter, Kerala has been allowed to take loans of only Rs 4,000 crore while in the earlier quarter it was permitted to take loans of Rs 6,000 crore.

In fact, in the next three quarters, the state has been allowed to take loans of only Rs 4,000 crore which according to the Centre will reduce Kerala's loan by Rs 6,000 crore, he said.

Isaac said that instead of increasing the spending, the central government was trying to curtail it.

"This would further aggravate the financial crisis and this was pointed out by Kerala in today's council meeting," he said.

He further said Kerala's biggest requirement - for RFID scanners to automatically detect the make of a vehicle and its capacity to carry goods - has still not been fulfilled.

He said that since it would take years for RFID to come, Kerala has decided to put automatic number plate readers and cameras at the almost 80 entry points into the state.

"If automatic number photo is taken then the make of the vehicle would be understood from the picture. What we want is that the e-way bill should be automatically downloaded. In that case, how much goods are being carried in a vehicle and depending on the size of the vehicle how much goods should be taken, all this could be determined earlier.

"It is possible to monitor and control everything, but the facility for automatic download of the e-way bill is not being put in place by the Centre. Every time the (vehicle) numbers have to be manually put it to download e-way. How can checking be effective that way," he said.

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