Kochi: While the state is reeling under a financial crisis, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and two of his Cabinet colleagues along with officials will fly away to Japan and South Korea on a 13-day visit on Friday.
The crisis has already hit various welfare schemes and health services. The prestigious International Film Festi-val of Kerala (IFFK) and Gaddika, a festival based on the distinct culture of indigenous people, are likely to be the other casualties as the government has not released funds for the events.
The affected welfare schemes include the mid-day meal for schoolchildren and disbursal of stipends to SC/ST students. A source told this paper that `6-crore pending for stipends has not received clearance from the finance department. The mid-day meal fund has not been disbursed for the past three months.
Hospitals are running short of medicines as payment is pending for Kerala Medical Services Corporation. Kozhikode region is already facing medicine shortage, a source said.
The cash crunch has forced the finance department to release funds only for the most urgent needs. Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac has been blaming the Union government for the crisis as it owes Rs 1,600 crore to the state as GST compensation.
Dr. Isaac, who was in Delhi the other day to attend a meeting of the empowered committee of state finance ministers, issued a joint statement with the FMs of West Bengal, Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab urging the centre to release the amount due to the states
immediately. They asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to intervene in the matter personally....