Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday continued to accuse Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of ”trying to mislead the public” about the alleged neglect shown by the central government towards the southern state.
The CM had on Sunday charged Sitharaman with trying to mislead the public through her claims of timely disbursement of required funds to the southern state by the Centre.
On Monday, referring to various economic policy decisions of the Centre, Vijayan said that after continuously taking measures which were harmful for Kerala, the Union minister tried to spread false propaganda about what the central government has done.
The CM said that besides cutting down the borrowing capacity of the state, the union government ended the GST compensation despite requests to continue the same for a few more years.
”The central government is financially strangling Kerala and when public opinion comes up against the same, the Centre spreads falsehoods and hides the needs of our state,” he alleged.
The request to continue the GST compensation regime was made by many states in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the floods of 2018 and 2019 in Kerala and overall insufficient economic growth in the country, he said at a press briefing at Tirur here.
But the Union Finance Minister tried to shift focus from that issue by blaming the state for allegedly not furnishing GST figures to the Centre, he said.
The CM claimed that the GST accounts have been submitted to the Accountant General who has to place the same before the GST Council.
Vijayan further claimed that several hundred crores of rupees were due from the Centre under various heads since 2017-18 and a major chunk of it was outstanding for the last three financial years.
He alleged that despite several rounds of discussions with the Centre by state officials and ministers, the dues have not been settled.
Yet, the Union Finance Minister herself was making incorrect and baseless claims, he contended.
Vijayan said that the state was not asking for freebies or the Centre’s generosity, it was demanding what it was entitled to.
Sitharaman, last week, had claimed that funds were being timely disbursed to the southern state.
She had also dismissed allegations by Kerala’s Left government of negligence in fund allocation.
The Union Finance Minister had also blamed the state government for non-release of funds under various categories by the Centre, alleging that it was due to the Left administration’s failure to meet the necessary criteria.
Refuting the claims and allegations of the Union minister, Vijayan alleged that the Centre was blocking all revenue streams of the state and was turning away from its legitimate demands as punishment for Kerala leading in all indices of social development.
The CM, during the press briefing, also referred to the recent tragic incident of four lives being lost in a stampede at Cochin University’s annual tech festival on Saturday, November 25.
With inputs from News18