Current News - State In News - Kerala

Centre Tells Supreme Court Kerala Faces Financial Strain

In a note recently presented to the Supreme Court, the Centre highlighted Kerala's precarious financial state, asserting that the state's debts have repercussions on the entire country's credit rating.

Key Points

  • Kerala's Financial Health: The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court that Kerala ranks among the "most financially unhealthy States," with its fiscal structure exhibiting numerous vulnerabilities.
  • Poor Financial Indicators: The Centre expressed concerns over Kerala's fiscal management, citing indicators that point to deficiencies in handling public finances and highlighting the need for improved financial governance.
  • Central Government Assistance: Despite significant financial aid provided by the central government, including funds exceeding the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission and a substantial GST compensation shortfall payment, Kerala continues to face financial strain.
  • Impact of State Debt: The Centre emphasized that irresponsible borrowing by states for unproductive expenditure could lead to a reduction in development funds, impoverishment of citizens, and loss of both state and national income.
  • Federal Structure Concerns: The note was in response to Kerala's lawsuit against the Centre, alleging violations of federal governance structures and detrimental impacts on the state's economy. Kerala urged the court to safeguard its financial autonomy.
  • Future Debt Projections: The Reserve Bank of India projected Kerala, along with Rajasthan and West Bengal, to exceed the debt-GSDP ratio of 35% by 2026-27, signaling a looming financial crisis if corrective actions aren't taken promptly.

India’s First State-Owned OTT Platform ‘CSpace’

In a first in the country, Kerala will launch a state-owned over-the-top (OTT) platform, ‘CSpace’, in November 2022, offering film lovers an array of movies, short films and documentaries of their choice.

  • It is an initiative of Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC) on behalf of the state government.

Shaili App

The government of Kerala is set to launch an Android App ‘Shaili’, aimed at diagnosing and controlling lifestyle diseases among the people in the state of Kerala.

  • The app has been set up as part of the population-based screening project launched by the Health Department under the Nava Kerala Karma plan.
  • The app would primarily collect information about diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung diseases as well as other lifestyle-related ailments and cancers.
  • The health status of the individuals would be scored and those with a score of above four would be asked to visit the nearest health centre for a check-up for lifestyle diseases.

‘Navajeevan’ Project: Livelihood to above 50 People

The Labour Department of Kerala will implement Navajeevan, a project to provide a means of livelihood to those in the 50-65 age group.

Features

  • Those in the 50-65 age group who have registered themselves in employment exchanges but are unable to find jobs will be given interest-free loans to start self-employment ventures as part of Navajeevan.
  • Widows who have registered with the exchanges but have no jobs and belong to the below-the-poverty line category, unmarried above the age of 30, unmarrried mother belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, physically challenged women, those with bed-ridden or sick husbands are being given a loan of Rs. 50,000 to start self-employment ventures.

‘Unnati’ Scheme: No more dependency on MGNREGS

The Kerala Govt. has launched ‘Unnati’ scheme to reduce workers’ dependency on MGNREGS and ensure jobs with better wages.

Finer Points of the Scheme

  • The ‘Unnati’ project will provide skill training to existing workers of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
  • Under the project, one adult member of a household which has completed 100 days of work under the MGNREGS will be provided training through the Rural Skill Division of the Ministry of Rural Development and the Krishi Vigyan Kendras of the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • The household from which a candidate will be selected for the training will continue to enjoy 100 days of work under the scheme.
  • A family member in the 18-35 age group from the household will be eligible for training under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY).
  • In case of special groups, persons of up to 45 years of age can apply.
  • The person undergoing training will be paid a stipend as per the prevailing wage rate for a maximum period of 100 days. The person will be eligible for stipend on a minimum attendance of 75% of the training classes or the course attendance requirement, whichever is more.
  • Under the DDU-GKY, placement is also ensured following the training.
  • The Kudumbashree Mission (State Poverty Eradication Mission) of Kerala has been entrusted with the selection of beneficiaries under the project.
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