Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has reiterated that the Rs.2 a kg rice scheme and the Ayyankali employment scheme are not extensions of Central schemes.
Addressing a meet-the-press here on Sunday, he rebutted the statement reportedly made by a Union Minister of State in this connection. The Centre was providing rice at Rs. 3 a kg according to the Antyodaya scheme for the poor, but the State had only three or four lakh beneficiaries under that scheme. The State was getting rice from the Centre under other schemes at much higher rates. The State would have to provide a subsidy of Rs. 4 to Rs. 6.50 a kg in order to distribute the rice at Rs. 2 a kg to 35 lakh families.
Similarly, the Ayyankali employment scheme was totally different from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The provisions in the latter, drafted by the Union government, could not be changed by the State government, he said.
Dr. Isaac said the conditions being imposed by the Finance Commission were not acceptable to the State and it was examining whether the commission's authority could be challenged in a court. The present attitude of the commission was harmful to the federal set-up of the country. The Union government would not be able to implement the scheduled tax reforms next year if the attitude of the commission had not changed.
Dr. Isaac said the development schemes for Kerala need not be drafted by Delhi-based officials who had not even seen the State.