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Foreign funds dependence to put Kerala in a spot: Oppositionnews
Jays Jacob
16 May 2003

Kochi: The leader of Opposition in the Kerala assembly, V S Achuthanandan, has said that the dependence on foreign funds and higher user charges for propping up the 2003-04 annual Plan would spell trouble for the state''s development objectives.

Achuthanandan in a statement said that the general contours of the 2003-04 Plan also indicated that there would be renewed efforts to close down or privatise public sector units and an allocation of lesser amounts for the three-tier local bodies. The Plan outlay for the current year has been pegged at Rs 4,430 crore.

As compared to the 2002-03 Plan, the outlay for this year showed a higher foreign fund component and lesser-untied funds that could be used by the states according to their own priorities, he added.

In 2001-02, 24 per cent of the Plan outlay comprised the central share, he said. This had fallen to 18 per cent in 2003-04. On the other hand, the share of foreign funds had increased from 2 per cent in 2001-02 to 21 per cent in 2003-04.

Of the funds being received as foreign loan assistance, Rs 513.35 crore has been earmarked for Modernisation of Government Programme (MGP), which was one of the conditions of the loan package. Besides this, Rs 84-crore has been earmarked for public sector unit (PSU) restructuring. This means that there would be a renewed bid in 2003-04 for closure or privatisation of PSUs, he said.

This has been accompanied by a sharp reduction or nominal increases in the allocations for crucial sectors such as agriculture, he said. "Agriculture and allied subjects, for example, would get only Rs 222.10 crore this year as against Rs 230.76 crore earmarked last year."

The allocation for the power sector has increased only marginally from Rs 600 crore last year to Rs 640 crore, he alleged. "There should have been a sharp increase in the allocation for power given the fact that not even a single MW power has been generated during the last two years."

The local bodies have been allocated only Rs 1,317 crore this year as against Rs 1,347 crore earmarked last year. The actual amount transferred to the local bodies constituted only 23.7 per cent. The sanctioned Plan outlay for 2003-03 was Rs 4,025 crore. However, this was cut in instalments to Rs 3,426 crore. Under the circumstances, it could be assumed that the state would not achieve the 10th Plan targets, he said.

The Plan is also heavily dependent on the increase in power and water tariffs and bus fares. This would suggest that there would be sharp increase in all these user fees this year. The people would offer stiff resistance if the government attempts anything of the kind, Achuthanandan said.


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Foreign funds dependence to put Kerala in a spot: Opposition