KIIFB projects top Rs70,000cr; Rs17,053cr already spent

KIIFB projects top Rs70,000cr; Rs17,053cr already spent

By CL Jose

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/February 21-2022: Giving the much-needed leg-up to the capital expenditure mood in the state, the aggregate value of KIIFB-approved projects has gone past the Rs70,000-crore-mark.

In fact, the initial estimates of projects when the concept of KIIFB itself was being debated from both sides of the political divider, was Rs50,000 crore, and this has now been exceeded by 40 per cent.

The go-ahead for projects worth Rs6943.37 crore at the high-level meeting last week has taken the total value of approved projects to Rs70,762 crore, with the number of projects going up to 962 in total.

A KIIFB note recently released has also said that a total of

Rs17,052.89 crore has already been spent so far by KIIFB, and projects worth Rs4428.94 crore have already been completed by this time, making good, to a very good extent, for the slow pace of capital spending the state has been witnessing all these years.

The scant regard that has historically been accorded to the capital expenditure in the state has invited in a lot of flak from economists from within and outside the state, and this has long been a stigma attached to the ‘Kerala’s economic planning.

The major projects taken up by KIIFB in the latest round include Anakkampoyil-Kalladi-Meppadi two-way tunnel road in Wayanad district for Rs2134.50 crore, West coast canal development for Rs915.84 crore, Global Industries Finance Trade City (GIFT City) for Rs850 crore etc.

The chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan (above) acknowledged the role played by KIIFB in broadening the horizon of infrastructure ambitions of the state.

“Innovations in the field of construction technology, project management; project funding, capacity building including knowledge sharing that Kerala witnessed during this period through the relentless efforts and excellent services of KIIFB are unparalleled ones,” the CM said.

The finance minister, KN Balagopal (below), noted that since its inception, KIIFB has been addressing the infrastructure requirements of vital sectors in the State including Hi-tech school programme, Coastal and Hill Highway, Transgrid 2.0, Petro-chemical & Pharma Park, Life Science Park, KFON and various agro-industrial parks.

Capital expenditure only 1.1 pc of GDP

A top finance ministry official noted recently that the one major challenge the state now faces is that the state ’s capital expenditure as a percentage of GSDP is only 1.1 per cent against the national average of 2.5 per cent.

“This means that we are not spending enough on capital expenditure while spending excessively when it comes to revenue expenditure as shown by our ‘Revenue Deficit’ of 2.9 per cent last year,” he said.

And more seriously, this could lead to the future growth prospects of the state getting constrained.

The fact that among the major Indian states, Kerala has the highest rate of unemployment at 11.4 per cent against the all-India level of 6 per cent, renders Kerala’s efforts on boosting capital expenditure more pressing.

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