Kerala CM says Nirmala Sitharaman’s claims on financial aid to state are false

A day after Nirmala Sitharaman claimed that required funds have been promptly sent to Kerala without delay, Pinarayi Vijayan listed down various instances in which the Union government withheld funds from the state.
Nirmala Sitharaman and Pinarayi Vijayan
Nirmala Sitharaman and Pinarayi Vijayan
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Accusing Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman of making false claims on the financial assistance provided to the state, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleged on Sunday, November 26, that Nirmala was attempting to cover up the Union government’s deliberate attempts to put a halt to several development initiatives in Kerala. On Saturday, while responding to the allegations raised by Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) that the Union government was not releasing funds under various categories to the state, Nirmala had claimed that the Union government had been promptly sending all required funds without delay. She had instead alleged that issues arose only due to the state government's failure to meet necessary criteria.

A day after Nirmala made the remarks, Pinarayi responded by listing down various instances in which the Union government withheld funds from the state. Addressing the opening of the Nava Kerala Sadas at the Thiruvambadi Assembly constituency in Kozhikode, the CM pointed out that the Union government was supposed to contribute an estimated amount of ₹579 crore towards the implementation of social security schemes in the state, but the funds were not provided on time. “It was only recently, after a delay of three and a half years, that the pending funds were cleared. In the meantime, the state had to depend on its own funds alone to aid the various beneficiaries,” he said.

The Kerala CM pointed out that the state has as many as 64 lakh beneficiaries who are dependent on such social security schemes, but up to 90% of them were not getting any aid from the Union government for their pensions. This same pattern was also visible in the provision of Union government funds for programmes concerning the elderly, persons with disabilities, and paddy farmers, he alleged.

Refuting Nirmala’s allegation that the LDF government did not submit detailed project proposals despite the Union government asking for them twice, Pinarayi said the Union Minister was trying to mislead people by placing all blame on the state government. “Kerala’s Finance Minister KN Balagopal visited the Union Minister numerous times to submit details of requirements and hold discussions. In addition, the state government has also placed requests via the LDF’s Members of Parliament (MPs),” he said.

Pinarayi also accused the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), led by the Congress, of not raising voice to build pressure on the Union government regarding Kerala’s development projects. No MP from the UDF has stood with the state government on this matter, or even signed the memorandum submitted to the Union government seeking to prioritise Kerala’s development concerns, he added.

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