CPI ministers miffed at Balagopal for neglecting their departments

Spread the love

Thiruvananthapuram: It looks like the CPI ministers have not witnessed a ‘sunrise’ in the fourth budget presented by K N Balagopal. Two of them – Civil Supplies Minister G R Anil and Animal Husbandry Minister J Chinchurani – have openly expressed their displeasure even if not in strong and bitter terms.
The civil supplies minister is especially disappointed because even a crucial policy approved by the LDF has not found its way into Balagopal’s budget.

Last November, the LDF had assented to the civil supplies minister’s proposal for a reasonable increase in the prices of the 13 items sold at subsidised rates through Supplyco outlets. The 13 items are Jaya rice, Kuruva rice, Matta rice, raw rice (pachari), sugar, coconut oil, red chilli, coriander, green gram, black gram (uzhunnu), chickpea, red cowpeas (vanpayar), and toor dal (thuvarapparippu).
The price revision was sought to make up for at least a fraction of Supplyco’s debt that has piled as a consequence of its market intervention efforts since the time of COVID.

The civil supplies minister had also then suggested that Supplyco’s subsidy amount be increased if the LDF was opposed to a hike in prices on political grounds. The LDF, after deliberations, opted for a hike in prices. As it turned out, Balagopal has increased neither the prices nor the subsidy amount.

It is also now clear that Balagopal will end up paying just 70 per cent of the subsidy amount promised to Supplyco this fiscal. The Supplyco is already running a debt of Rs 2,285 crore. The Civil Supplies Department has also not been reimbursed the R 320 crore used for paddy procurement. The Department does not even have enough money to pay its distributors who, in turn, have stopped supplying Supplyco.

“Supplyco is going through a bad phase. We contend that our policy approach should be based on this reality,” civil supplies minister Anil said, playing down any rift. “It is usual for ministers to compare notes with each other. I will talk to the finance minister,” he said.

The Animal Husbandry Department, too, has been equally affected. Minister J Chinchurani said that her Department’s allocation had been slashed by 40 per cent compared to last year. If Rs 177.96 crore is the allocation for Animal Husbandry Department in the ongoing fiscal, Balagopal has pared it down to Rs 137.63 crore for 2024-25.

“We should be sanctioned money at least at the level of the last fiscal,” Chinchurani said. The minister, who is now in Delhi, said that she would meet the Chief Minister once she returned. “I will convince the Chief Minister of our needs, also the finance minister,” Chinchurani said.

Revenue Minister Rajan is also peeved that there was no allocation for title deed distributions in the budget. Agriculture, helmed by CPI’s P Prasad, has also seen a fall in allocation compared to last year.

Source link

Facebook Comments Box

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!