Rajesh Kumar Singh to head new panel
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Government has constituted an expert committee to assess the economic impact of COVID 19 pandemic on the state’s finances and to suggest specific and significant additional revenue mobilisation measures to the help the state tide over the unprecedented challenges posed by the fatal virus.
The committee which will be headed by Rajesh Kumar Singh, additional chief secretary (Finance) will have Dr K.M. Abraham, former chief secretary and KIIFB chief executive and R. Ramakumar, member, Kerala State Planning Board as other members.
The government has also nominated Dr D. Shyjan, head of Department of Economics, University of Calicut, Director, John Mathai Centre, Thrissur as special invitee to the Committee.
The committee will soon estimate the effect of additional expenditure obligations during the financial year 2020-21 on account of the recovery measures that must be initiated by Government.
The immediate tasks before the expert committee will also include assessing the liquidity issues impacting the State’s Treasury Management that Government is likely to face during the financial year 2020-21.
Needless to say, the lockdown following the COVID-l9 pandemic has brought the economic activities in most sectors in Kerala to a grinding halt.
“The unprecedented slowdown both in the formal and informal sectors has crippled the demand for goods and services, which in turn makes economic recovery even more challenging,” said a statement issued by the Finance Department.
It also added that the situation that Government must face is a combination of unprecedented loss or reduction in employment, income and output coupled with severe shortfalls in its revenues.
“It is the utmost priority of Government to develop a meaningful and effective strategy to lift the State out of this crisis and put it on a sustainable and resilient track of recovery,” the statement added.
The Terms of Reference of the Committee will include assessing the impact on revenues of the state. The committee will look in detail, the loss to the own tax revenues (OTR) of the State in the immediate and short term and the likely projection of OTR collections for the financial year 2020-21.
It will analyse specifically the impact on GST, Central transfers, especially tax devolution and non-tax revenue mobilisation of the state.