White Paper on Kerala's finances a must: Experts

Thiruvananthapuram: With Kerala's finances in poor shape, the need of the hour is for the new Kerala government to come out with a White Paper on Kerala's financial position, said an economist on Monday. Veteran economist M.A. Oommen said the situation is such that Kerala has topped the monthly per capita consumption in the country, pushing states like Maharashtra and Punjab down.  "Tax revenue in Kerala has not increased and hence nothing can be done. A White Paper has to be prepared by the incoming government and after that they should take the people into confidence. The expenditure has to be curtailed," said Oommen.  Kerala has outstanding liabilities of over Rs.141,500 crore, which is over 28.5 percent of its gross domestic product. The new government may face cash constraints for capital and development expenditures because just three expenditure heads -- salaries, pensions and interest payments -- are likely to consume over two-thirds of the state's total budgeted revenue of Rs.84,000 crore for this fiscal.  "To cut down on expenditure, the new government should stop buying luxury cars. The government officials should work to their best efficiency and collect all outstanding arrears that are due to the government, in various sectors," added Oommen.  Former Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who in all probability will get the portfolio this time also, opined that there is a serious shortage of funds for the government. "A White Paper has to be prepared to know where and how the state's finances are," said Issac.