Centre to consider raising Kerala’s borrowing limit: Minister

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 30 (IANS) Asking public and private insurance companies to quickly settle claims filed by the flood-affected in Kerala, Union Minister of State for Finance Pon Radhakrishnan has said that the Centre will consider the state’s demand to raise its borrowing limit.

“… the demand of Kerala for enhancing (its borrowing limit) from 3 per cent to 4.5 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) will be looked into by the Central government,” he said at a State-Level Bankers’ Committee meet here on Wednesday.

The Minister, on a visit to flood-ravaged Kerala to review relief and rehabilitation measures taken by banks and insurance companies, said that the Centre would provide all necessary assistance to Kerala.

“All public and private insurance companies have been instructed to quickly process and expedite settlement of all claims arising out of floods,” he said.

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With the allocation of Rs 214 crore this fiscal, the state government has a total of Rs 562.45 crore in the State Disaster Response Fund at its disposal, he added.

The Minister said that further fund requirement will be decided after a memorandum on losses is submitted by the state. The Kerala government has said that it is preparing a new report.

“Based on the memorandum, the Centre will send a team to study the situation before taking a decision on the matter,” Radhakrishnan said.

Nearly 191 bank branches and 179 ATMs were made functional, and steps are being taken to make the remaining functional as early as possible, he said.

To give relief to the people, the Minister said, the government has waived charges for services like issuance of duplicate passbooks, deposit receipts and charges for not maintaining minimum balance.

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Soiled and defective notes will be exchanged at all bank branches. He pointed out that the government has also extended fresh consumption loans of up to Rs 10,000 on need basis and a moratorium on agricultural and MSME loans for one year in Kerala.

The Centre has given all possible assistance to Kerala under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s direction and has provided required food grains and medicines, Radhakrishnan said.

The Centre is totally sympathetic to Kerala and the Prime Minister has asked the Ministries concerned to consider the state’s demands, he added.

–IANS

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