Kerala is at the forefront in the fight against the corona virus. The country’s first infected patient was found here and since then the state has been highly active in conducting tests, detecting infected people and treating patients. As a result of this, till April 15, the number of patients who lost their lives due to corona infection was only two, while 179 patients had recovered and returned home. No other state could succeed against Corona in this way. If seen, Kerala has indeed succeeded in stopping the corona infection.
The neighboring state of Tamil Nadu also has a high number of infected patients. So far, more than 1,200 people have fallen prey to this infection. Of course, the number of patients recovering here is in double digits, but this state is trying its best to stop the death rate, in which it is also seen to be successful.
The medical infrastructure in both these states is better than most of the states of the country and health workers are also well trained here. Tamil Nadu has developed private medical services well, due to which it is known as a destination for ‘medical tourism’. Both these states have been spending about five percent of their total expenditure on public health for the past few years. Other states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are also now working to build their own basic health infrastructure, but they still have to do a lot to match these two southern states.
But both these southern states also complain that they are not getting enough help from the Center. Interestingly, Kerala is ruled by the Left, which is opposed to the ruling BJP at the Center, while Tamil Nadu has the AIADMK government, which is a close ally of the saffron party. The southern states, especially Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have suffered greatly from the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission. Both states are struggling with their current budget. Kerala is estimated to incur a loss of Rs 4,300 crore in the current financial year as its share in the divisible bridge has come down from 2.5 per cent to 1.94 per cent. The unfavorable conditions of the 15th Finance Commission and the sharing of taxes by the Center have reduced state funds. It is estimated that Kerala has lost 22 per cent of the divisible bridge and if the losses due to the sharing of taxes are added to it, the deficit will be around 31 per cent. 
Similarly, Tamil Nadu has also suffered due to better population control measures. Since the formula for sharing of resources between the Center and the states has been decided on the basis of population, states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu which control the population growth rate have been badly affected. While, like most states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also spending more, revenue is not going up. It is estimated that spending in Kerala has increased by 15 per cent in the last six years, but revenue has increased by only 10 per cent. 
Lowering of states’ share in the total receipt of the general budget is also another issue. Last year states got 35 percent as their share in the divisible bridge, while the 14th Finance Commission gave them 42 percent in 2015-16. But the 15th Finance Commission reduced the share of the state’s divisional bridge to 41 per cent. Southern states are complaining that the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission were publicized saying that India was being led to cooperative federalism, but when it came to the implementation, it was rejected.
Even in terms of income, Kerala has lost about Rs 7,000 crore. Kerala spends the same amount on its health and three times that, i.e. 21,000 crore rupees on its education. States are still facing cash crisis due to non-receipt of GST arrears from the Center. However, in view of the Corona crisis, the Center has promised to pay all its dues.
In an order issued by the Madras High Court in the past, it was wondered why Tamil Nadu has been given only 510 crore rupees to fight the corona virus? The court considered that this money is not enough. The court’s assessment was based on the fact that Tamil Nadu has a significantly higher number of infected patients, but received far less money than states such as Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. In fact, on 3 April, the Union Home Ministry approved the release of Rs 11,092 crore to all the states under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) for the epidemic prevention measures. The allocation was based on the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission. Hence Maharashtra, the state with the most infected patients, got Rs 1,611 crore, while Kerala got just Rs 157 crore, which is Uttar Pradesh (Rs 966 crore), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 910 crore), Odisha (Rs 802 crore), Rajasthan (740 crore) Rupees),
Then the population of the southern states is also aging much faster than the northern states. Despite the corona virus being at greater risk to the elderly, these two states were given fewer funds to fight the epidemic. They are already being allocated less money due to the dwindling population, and now they are on the verge of loss again due to the elderly population. These states had already expressed their unhappiness with the New India Initiative-2022, stating that ‘states were forced to take a definite policy stance which is political in nature’.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here