Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s public debt has increased by a whopping 40 percent in the first two years since Pinarai Vijayan’s LDF government came to power. Per capita debt has increased to 44,686 rupees. The situation would have been far worse had it not been for the windfall gains from petrol and diesel taxes and a 17 % jump in GST collections.
On March 31st, 2016, Kerala’s public debt stood at 109,730.97 crore rupees. By September 30, 2018, this had risen to 153,439.96 crore rupees – an increase of 43,708 crores. Meanwhile, the accumulated debt of the state stood at a staggering 229,727 crore rupees. Looking for a scapegoat, the government makes a rather bizarre claim that the reduction in GST rates is to blame for the negative impact on tax revenues. This is despite the finance minister Thomas Isaac’s own admission in the legislative assembly that the state received 2,361 crores in additional income during the current financial year from GST implementation compared with the year-ago period.