Centre trying to derail Constitutional principle of fiscal federalism: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan


Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after he called for 'new resistance' against the BJP-ruled Centre, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan continued his attack on the Central government by accusing it of wrongly interpreting the Constitution to derail the principle of 'fiscal federalism' enshrined in it.

On Wednesday, addressing a public meeting organised by K Chandrasekhar Rao-led BRS in Telangana, Vijayan accused the Centre of 'undoing' the foundations of the nation's democracy and trying to divide the country along communal lines.

At the meet, he said the basic tenets of the Constitution are facing threats from the people at the helm of affairs at the Centre. Today, speaking at the official announcement of the restructuring of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Department, the Kerala Chief Minister said the Centre was trying to financially choke the State to derail the welfare and developmental activities here.

"The Centre also said that if we stop our welfare measures, then it will consider removing the restrictions on us in availing loans," he alleged. Even Kerala's share in the Central taxes was halved in the 15th Finance Commission from what it was at the time of the 10th Finance Commission, he said.

The Central government was also obstructing the State's right to take loans, he contended. Some vested interests were spreading fake propaganda that the State was in a financial debt trap and that it was making ends meet thanks to aid from the Centre, he said. Such contentions were falsehood as the figures indicate that the Central contribution to Kerala's income was only 36 per cent as compared to the national average of 45 per cent, he said.

The Chief Minister said some States were getting even as much as 75 per cent of their income from the Centre. He claimed that in the last 20 years, the revenue and per capita income of the State have seen a manifold increase. Therefore, those accusing Kerala to be in a debt trap should speak also about the increase in its income, he said.

"Our income is increasing at a higher rate than our debt. Therefore, by hiding the reduction in Central contribution and Kerala's share in taxes, some people are vociferously claiming that the State was in a debt trap and was surviving thanks to financial aid from the Centre," he said. In this background the restructuring of the GST Department assumes significance as it would help to make tax collection more efficient which is the intention of the State government, he added. The GST Department has undergone a major restructuring by dividing it into three sections -- audit services, investigation and inspection wing and taxpayer services.

PTI

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