Thiruvananthapuram, January 23, (BPNS )
Criticizing the Centre for curtailing the borrowing limits and its incursions into the legislative domain of the states, Kerala has begun its Budget Session on Monday. It is in the Policy Address delivered by Governor Arif Muhammad Khan that the state expressed its dissatisfaction. His address marks the commencement of the eighth session of the 15th Kerala Assembly.
In his address, the Governor said that the recent measures to
curtail the borrowing limits of the states might constrain the scope of their interventions in health, education, and infrastructural sectors.
“While the fiscal discipline has to be enforced in right earnest, there
cannot be different yardsticks for state governments, which are not made applicable to the Union Government,” said Khan.
Referring to the Union Government’s revised decision to include loans availed of by the Kerala State Infrastructure Investment Fund
Board (KIIFB) also within the ambit of Kerala’s overall borrowing limits, the Governor said that it had severely restricted the state’s borrowing capacity.
“This would reduce the fiscal space for the Government for furthering its development priorities and would constrain the State’s resources,” said Khan.
He also informed the House that the government has submitted a memorandum to the Union Government in this regard.
He then added, “At this juncture, I hope that the question of fiscal federalism in the country is to be addressed in a very positive way by the Union Government.”
Citing the incursions into the legislative domain of the states, the Governor said that it does not augur well for a cooperative federal setup.
“Checks and balances in the system have to be scrupulously observed for the healthy functioning of our democratic polity. Legislative Assemblies represent the will of the people. The spirit of the legislation and the intention of the legislature has to be protected,” said Khan.
K-SMART on April 1st
In his address, the Governor announced that the K-SMART application for urban local bodies will be rolled out by April 1st, 2023. According to him,
it would revolutionize service delivery in urban local bodies.
“Dashboards have been set up for tracking the progress of applications and service delivery in Local Governments as well as all Government Departments with citizen-interface” said him.
The government, through the policy address, reiterated that it will bring in reforms in the investment arena and modernize and amend
laws, rules, and regulations to facilitate and simplify approvals for investment in the State.
In the case of agriculture, the government said that more activities in organic and natural farming will be initiated during 2023-24.
It has been stated that a special quality assurance drive for the detection of aflatoxin and antibiotic residues in milk, milk products, and cattle
feed will be carried out. Further quality assurance drives for ‘certified milk’ will also be completed.
Streamlining English education
In the address, the Governor said that the government intends to streamline the English learning and teaching through innovative programmes.
“The school curriculum will be modified highlighting the uniqueness and richness of Kerala culture. The curriculum of vocational higher secondary students would be made more skill oriented,” said him.
Three dimension campaign
The government stated in its policy address that the Women and Child Development Department is planning a long-term campaign to achieve the three dimensions of gender equality viz. equal opportunity, equal voice, and freedom from violence.
The Governor concluded his address by saying that his government is committed to provide social welfare and to promote fast economic growthand infrastructural development. But for that, “a positive approach from the Union Government which will foster meaningful cooperative federalism is needed.”
Earlier, the Opposition MLAs lodged their protest on the alleged collusion between the LDF government and the Governor. Though they raised slogans such as ‘Governor- government bhai bhai’ before the policy address began, they sat through the address holding placards in protest and made no attempts to disrupt the policy address.
Other major points from Governor’s Address
– Establishment of a Community Disability
Management Centres and Integrated Rehabilitation
Villages at the Local Government level with the
technical support of the National Institute for Speech
– Preparing a training programme –
Career Excellence’ (TRACE) for providing internship
and placement training for professionals and
graduate SC youth
– A ‘Green Income’ Programme that will enable Scheduled Caste families with solar-electrified houses to
generate income by selling surplus electricity to KSEB
– An action plan with a focus on skilling the unskilled youth in the minority sector especially in new and emerging areas
– Kerala Startup Mission will implement ‘Startup Infinity’ for setting up launchpads in select
– Proposes to implement
‘Karmachari’ Scheme to provide part-time jobs to
the students, while they are studying
– A ‘Climate Change Knowledge
Portal’ will be developed to provide data on historic
and future climate, vulnerabilities, and impacts