We are open to dialogue with Kerala to resolve dispute over cap on net borrowing: Centre to SC

The two-judge bench of the Top Court, headed by Justice Surya Kant and also comprising Justice K V Viswanathan was hearing the Kerala govt’s prayer for interim relief application alleging Centre’s illegal interference in the State’s finances and budgeting.At the outset today, during the course of the hearing, the Judges suggested to both the parties — Kerala and UOI — that the finance secretary of Kerala should engage in dialogue with the union finance minister to break the deadlock through negotiation.Justice Surya Kant stressed the need and importance of genuine initiative and dialogue in resolving the impasse arose on the issue.”Whether the state or the Centre, there are seasoned administrators who have in their public life seen the world in different capacities. We are confident that you will be able to find a solution,” Justice Kant said with optimism, and fixed the matter for further hearing to February 19, Monday.AG Venakatramani had earlier told the Supreme Court that Kerala govt’s finances came under economic management policy and the State govt was attempting to cover up its own failures on the issue of finances and budgeting.The Apex Court in its last hearing on Thursday had asked the Centre to file its detailed reply within a week on the interim relief application filed by Kerala govt.The Kerala govt, in its petiton filed in the Top Court, has alleged that the Centre is unnecessarily interfering in States’ finances and said that due to such interference, the state is not able to fulfil the commitments in its Annual Budgets.Kerala govt said that the Centre is imposing a Net Borrowing Ceiling on the State. It claimed that the alleged interference by the Centre has resulted in huge arrears that it owes by way of welfare schemes to the people of the State, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, various beneficiary groups, the employees of the State Government, its pensioners and dues to its State-Owned Enterprises.

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