Growth in revenues till July end came to 12.11% against budget target of 26%

Finance Minister K.M. Mani on Tuesday dismissed suggestions that the State was passing through a financial crisis but the points he set forth to establish his reassuring statement should ring the alarm bells.

Addressing a press conference in his chamber, Mr. Mani said: “Things are safe. There is absolutely no reason for concern. For all programmes needing support, my department is there with the funds.”

In what seemed a pointed answer to Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed’s comment at a public programme on Sunday about the financial travails of the government, Mr. Mani said the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) had already received Rs.92 crore as subsidy from the government against Rs.55 crore earmarked in the budget for 2013-14.

KSRTC allocation

Likewise, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) [which comes under Mr. Aryadan] received Rs.150 crore already against a budget allocation of Rs.125 crore.

Reels out figures

For every mega project and welfare or social initiative, his department had been keeping the purse strings loose, the Finance Minister said, reeling out figures showing the funds released to projects such as the Kochi metro, Kannur airport, Vizhinjam port, Kerala State Road Transport Project and social initiatives such as public distribution, welfare pensions, paddy procurement, and various subsidies to the deserving poor.

In every case Mr. Mani mentioned, the funds release had been “according to the needs,” far beyond the budget allocations - in some cases exceeding double the allocation.

Answering questions, Mr. Mani said the budget target this financial year was to achieve an increase of 26 per cent in commercial tax collection compared to last year and the period-to-period growth till July end came to 14 per cent.

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