Salary, Interest Take 90% Of Kerala's Revenue Income: CAG

Thiruvananthapuram, June 29 | Updated: Jul 1 2004, 04:33am hrs
Salaries, pensions and interest on debt absorb 90 per cent of Kerala government's revenue income, according to Comptroller and Auditor General's (CAG) report on Kerala finances for 2002-2003. This leaves pretty little for development spending, the report points out.

Despite the state's commitment of zeroing down its revenue deficit (RD) by 2007, in 2002-2003 this has buoyed to Rs 4,122 crore. The increase is 58 per cent. Revenue expenditure was Rs 14,756 crore and income Rs 10634 crore. In short, when the revenue income increased only 17.4 per cent, increase in expenditure was 26.5 per cent. This had left only 56 per cent of the total expenditure for development spending, CAG notes. Seventy three per cent of the revenue income is accounted by sales tax. The shares of excise duty, motor tax and registration fees on the revenue side are nine per cent, seven per cent and seven per cent respectively.

The report specifically points out that the state government had been spending 67-83 per cent of the loans it incurred, not on development expenditure but for ways and means management. The state had lost its due Central assistance for administrative reforms to the tune of Rs 44.3 crore since it failed to convince the Centre of achieving the targets.

In 2002, the public debt had shot up from Rs 17367 crore in 1998 to Rs 33782 crore in 2002, CAG said. Debt commitments in this period has jumped from Rs 1446 crore to Rs 2947 crore. In 2004, the public debt has hit Rs 41,000 crore, according to provisional estimates.