Special Correspondent

Use of Central fund has improved under LDF rule: Isaac

Says government achieves higher expenditure

‘Benefits for SC/STs, fishermen doubled’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said in the Assembly on Thursday that use of funds under various Central schemes has improved under the Left Democratic Front (LDF) rule compared to the level of expenditure under the United Democratic Front (UDF) rule.

Replying to a debate on the Kerala Appropriation (No. 2) Bill, Dr. Isaac denied the Opposition contention that the administration was paralysed. Expenditure under schemes such as the Suvarna Jayanti Rozgar Yogana stood at 88 per cent up to November last year. During the LDF rule, expenditure during a whole year was only 78 per cent. The UDF had been able to spend only 10 per cent of the funds earmarked for the Asraya scheme. The present government had revamped the plan and achieved higher expenditure.

Admitting that only 25 days’ work could be provided under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme last year, Dr. Isaac said Central norms were in the way of achieving higher expenditure. The State did not have public land to take up works specified by the Centre. It wanted the Centre to allow works such as replanting of private plantations and construction of houses for the poor to be taken up under the programme.

He said the government had doubled the benefits, including pensions, for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and fishermen. It was planning to increase the cover under the health insurance scheme for the poor through add-on schemes. However, the Centre had not yet agreed to that.

He said the Finance Department had given special sanction to infrastructure projects costing Rs.2,000 crore this year. Maximum amount would be spent on the projects this year itself. The government proposed to mobilise Rs.5,000 crore, through the public account, for higher investment in infrastructure next year.

PWD project reports

Public Works Minister Mons Joseph said detailed project reports for infrastructure schemes coming under the Public Works Department had been prepared in May. In the past, preparation of such reports used to take a year.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the law and order situation in the State was better than that during the UDF rule. While the UDF government could not put anyone behind the bar under its goonda Ordinance, the present government had detained 300 goondas under the goonda Act. The previous government was not keen on enforcing the law since it brought the Ordinance for electoral reasons.

Mr. Balakrishnan said the demonstrations staged by some people in support of Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at various places this week (following CPI(M) central committee’s decision to drop Mr. Achuthanandan from the Polit Bureau) were ‘media-sponsored’ demonstrations. Two Congress workers were among the demonstrators at Ambalappuzha.

No profit

Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran denied that the State Civil Supplies Corporation had sold green grams allotted by the Centre for profit. The State government actually provided a subsidy of Rs.4 a kg.

The House later passed the Bill. The Bill seeks to provide for withdrawal of Rs.46,326.72 crore from the Consolidated Fund of the State for expenses during the current financial year.