By Deepthi Mary Mathew and Dr. Dhanuraj
Even before presenting the first budget of the LDF government, Finance Minister Thomas Issac took an anticipatory bail by publishing a White Paper on the State’s finances. It portrayed the dismal condition of the State coffers and pointed out that the government is finding it difficult even to meet its daily expenditure. The document stated that the government was in need of Rs. 10,000 crore to take care of immediate liabilities.
With such a background, some bold reforms were expected from the Finance Minister, to bring in more fiscal discipline. But, when compared to the previous budget of the UDF government, there is a rise in both fiscal deficit and revenue deficit in the current budget. For instance, in the previous budget, by the UDF government for the fiscal year 2016-17, estimated fiscal and revenue deficit stood at Rs. 19,971.08 crore and Rs. 9,897 crore respectively. But in the new budget, fiscal deficit stands at Rs. 23,139.89 crore, with revenue deficit at Rs. 13,006.25 crore. So the question is whether our Finance Minister will succeed in bringing more fiscal discipline?