BJP think tank in report claims Kerala finance in shambles

BJP think tank PPRC releases report on Kerala finance in New Delhi

Image credit PPRC

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Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, BJP think tank charges Left-led Kerala for mounting public debt

By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, April 18: The Bharatiya Janata Party think tank, the Public Policy Research Centre (PPRC), claimed in a report that the finance of Kerala is in shambles. The ruling Left in Kerala is facing the challenge of the Lok Sabha elections on two fronts, from the Congress-led front and the BJP.

“Kerala’s current economic landscape, the fiscal horizon appears increasingly grim. The fiscal deficit, a crucial indicator of financial health, has swelled from 2.44 per cent in 2022-23 to a concerning 3.40 per cent in 2024-25, signalling instability in debt management,” said the PPRC in a report, which was released by PK Krishna Das, former Kerala BJP chief and Sumeet Bhasin.

The report stated that the “revenue deficit paints a similarly bleak picture, surging from 0.88 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product in 2022-23 to 2.12 per cent in 2024-25”. Das said on the occasion that the expanding deficit trend underscores a pressing financial gap requiring immediate attention. “A troubling pattern is evident in expenditure allocation, with around 90 per cent directed towards revenue expenditure, leaving a mere 10 per cent for capital expenditure,” he added.

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The report by PPRC shows that adding to the financial woes of the state is the steady rise in public debt, soaring from Rs. 17,926.14 crore in 2016-17 to a staggering Rs. 35,988.28 crore by 2024-25.

“This reliance on borrowing underscores the need for prudent financial management strategies. Notably, the outstanding debt has ballooned by 154.47 per cent from 2016-17 to 2024-25, painting a grim picture of Kerala’s financial trajectory,” added the PPRC in its report.

Furthermore, it stated, reductions in budget allocations for critical sectors like education, health, agriculture, infrastructure, and transportation pose significant threats to societal well-being and economic growth in Kerala.

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Bhasin said: “Kerala’s share of central taxes has seen a substantial increase, signaling growing central support from the PM Modi-led central government for the state. Transitioning to the pressing issue of lawlessness, Kerala, once hailed as ‘God’s Own Country’, grapples with a disturbing rise in crime and violence.”

He also stated that the recent instances, such as the sentencing of 15 individuals to death for the killing of a BJP leader, which is first such case in the country, highlight the severity of the situation.

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“Political killings, with 32 reported during the first term of Pinarayi Vijayan, underscore the pervasive nature of violence in the state,” said Sandeep Vachaspathi, the BJP spokesperson in Kerala. The report also claimed that “statistics reveal a surge in drug-related offenses, with convictions under the NDPS Act reaching unprecedented levels. Unfortunately, crime against women is also on the rise, with nearly 39,000 cases registered between 2020 and 2022, further tarnishing Kerala’s reputation.”

The PPRC also stated that Kerala faces a myriad of challenges, including mounting debts owed to hospitals and acute shortages of essential drugs and medical supplies, wherein the state government owes private and public hospitals Rs. 1,128 crores. “Patients are forced to seek treatment at private facilities due to the deficiencies in public hospitals. Alarmingly, vaccination rates have declined, and instances of stunted growth and anemia among children are on the rise, indicating deteriorating health indicators,” added the report.

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