Updated: January 23, 2021 8:14:04 am
In an unprecedented development, the Kerala Assembly on Friday passed a resolution against a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, which termed the off-budget borrowings through Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) as unconstitutional and said that it encroached upon the powers of the Union government.
The resolution, moved by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, was passed despite strong objections raised by the Opposition, which said the government was trying to destroy a Constitutional body. The resolution said the Assembly rejected CAG’s reference about KIIFB in its report.
The CAG report on state finances audit for 2019 was tabled in the assembly on January 19. It made adverse remarks against the off-budget borrowings, including the masala bond, of the KIIFB, which is the government entity for mobilising funds for infrastructure projects.
The resolution said the adverse references against KIIFB were unwarranted, factually wrong, and hastily incorporated in such a manner to hurt the developmental interest of the state. “This assembly sees that the references against KIIFB were made without hearing the state government and in violation of the audit regulations issued by CAG itself. The emergence of mentions which were not in the draft but included in the final report is denial of natural justice.’’
The resolution said the CAG findings that KIIFB’s borrowings are off-budget and not part of the contingent liability of the government were wrong. Such findings were made without understanding and analysing the basic financial structure of the KIIFB.
As references against KIIFB in the state financial audit report-2019 endanger the larger developmental interest of the state, the assembly wanted to take up its anxiety with the CAG, it said.
Congress’s V D Satheeshan, among the Opposition members who spoke against the resolution, wanted the government to withdraw it. “The government is trying to destroy a Constitutional body and the resolution should be withdrawn to uphold the tradition of the Assembly,’’ he said.
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