Kerala Budget Analysis 2018-19

February 11, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

The Finance Minister of Kerala, Dr. T.M. Thomas Issac, presented the Budget for financial year 2018-19 on February 2, 2018.

Budget Highlights

  • The Gross State Domestic Product of Kerala for 2018-19 (at current prices) is estimated to be Rs 7,72,894 This is 12.6% higher than the revised estimates for 2017-18.  Note that the GSDP in 2017-18 is expected to be 8.2% lower than what was estimated at the budget stage.
  • Total expenditure for 2018-19 is estimated to be Rs 1,27,093 crore, a 14.1% increase over the revised estimate of 2017-18. In 2017-18, the revised estimates indicate that the expenditure is expected to be Rs 8,250 crore (6.9%) lower than the budget estimate.
  • Total receipts (excluding borrowings) for 2018-19 are estimated to be Rs 1,03,136 crore, an increase of 16.4% as compared to the revised estimates of 2017-18. In 2017-18, total receipts fell short of the budgeted estimate by Rs 5,269 crore.
  • Revenue deficit for the next financial year is targeted at Rs 12,860 crore, or 1.7% of the state Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fiscal deficit is targeted at Rs 23,957 crore (3.1% of state GDP).
  • Departments of Rural Development, Compensation to Local Bodies, Agriculture, and Welfare of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes saw the highest increase in allocations.

Policy Highlights

  • Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB): Proposals amounting to Rs 20,000 crore (37%) out of around Rs 54,000 crore under KIIFB have been sanctioned.
  • Healthcare: Resources for the Comprehensive Health Care Scheme of the government will be mobilised through Kerala Lottery.  Rs 1,686 crore will be spent on public health services.
  • Disaster Management: In light of cyclone Ockhi, a comprehensive coastal development package worth Rs 2,000 crore has been announced.  For adoption of protective measures along the coastal belt of the state, Rs 300 crore has been sanctioned from KIIFB.
  • Registration and Stamp Duty: A stamp duty of Rs 1,000, or 0.25% of the sale value, whichever is higher, will be charged.  Rate of land tax will be modified.  Existing fair value of land will be increased by 10%.
  • Transport: Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will be revived.  Loans amounting to Rs 3,500 crore will be made available at low interest rates.  Funds will be made available to purchase 2,000 new buses.
  • Drinking Water: A Water Authority Innovation Zone will be started to address issues of distribution of drinking water and waste water treatment.  Revamping of the Kerala Water Authority will be undertaken.


Kerala Economy

  • Economic growth:  The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) of Kerala grew from 4.3% in 2014-15 to 7.4% in 2016-17.
  • Sectoral growth:  Services sector has the maximum contribution (63.1%) to GSDP.  Manufacturing and agriculture contribute 25.6% and 11.3% to GSDP, respectively.
  • Unemployment in Kerala:  Among major states, Kerala has the highest unemployment rate of 12.5% as against the all India level of 5%.
Figure 1:  Growth in GSDP and sectors (2011-12 prices)

Note:  Estimates for 2015-16 are provisional and 2016-17 are quick estimates.

Sources: Kerala Economic Review 2017; PRS.



Budget Estimates for 2018-19

  • The total expenditure in 2018-19 is targeted at Rs 1,27,093 crore. This is 14% higher than the revised estimates of 2017-18.  This expenditure is proposed to be met through receipts (other than borrowings) of Rs 1,03,136 crore and borrowings of Rs 23,881 crore.
  • In 2017-18, revised estimates of total expenditure were 6.9% lower (Rs 8,250 crore) than the budget estimates.
  • Total receipts for 2018-19 (other than borrowings) are expected to be 16.4% higher than the revised estimates of 2017-18.

Table 1: Budget 2018-19 – Key figures (Rs crore)

Items 2016-17 Actuals 2017-18 Budgeted 2017-18 Revised % change from BE 2017-18 to RE of 2017-18 2018-19 Budgeted % change from RE 2017-18 to BE 2018-19
Total Expenditure 1,02,383 1,19,602 1,11,352 -6.9% 1,27,093 14.1%
A. Borrowings* 26,440 25,279 22,082 -12.6% 23,881 8.2%
B. Receipts (except borrowings) 75,934 93,846 88,577 -5.6% 1,03,136 16.4%
Total Receipts (A+B) 1,02,374 1,19,124 1,10,659 -7.1% 1,27,018 14.8%
Revenue Deficit -15485 -16,043 -13,080 -18.5% -12,860 -1.7%
As % of state GDP -2.5% -2.1% -1.9% -1.7%
Fiscal Deficit -26,448 -25,756 -22,774 -11.6% -23,957 5.2%
As % of state GDP -4.3% -3.4% -3.3% -3.1%
Primary Deficit -14,332 -12,124 -9,248 -23.7% -9,019 -2.5%
As % of state GDP -2.3% -1.6% -1.3% -1.2%

Notes: BE is Budget Estimate; RE is Revised Estimate.  ‘-’ sign indicates deficit; ‘+’ indicates surplus.

Sources: Kerala Budget Documents 2018-19; PRS.


Expenditure in 2018-19

  • Capital expenditure for 2018-19 is proposed to be Rs 11,432 crore, which is an increase of 14.3% over the revised estimates of 2017-18. This includes expenditure which affects the assets and liabilities of the state, and leads to creation of assets (such as bridges and hospital), and repayment of loans, among others.
In 2018-19, the state aims to spend Rs 32,996 crore on salaries and Rs 18,221 crore on providing pensions.  Expenditure on both these heads constitutes 44% of the revenue expenditure.
  • Revenue expenditure for 2018-19 is proposed to be Rs 1,15,661 crore, which is an increase of 14.1% over revised estimates of 2017-18. This expenditure includes payment of salaries, maintenance, etc.  Note that in 2017-18, Kerala’s revenue expenditure was 7.6% lower than its budget estimates, while the capital expenditure was marginally higher (0.3%).
  • In 2018-19, Kerala is expected to spend Rs 29,770 crore on servicing its debt (i.e., Rs 14,832 crore on repaying loans, and Rs 14,938 crore on interest payments). This is 15.6% higher than the revised estimates of 2017-18.

Table 2: Expenditure budget 2017-18 (Rs crore)

Item 2016-17 Actuals 2017-18 Budgeted 2017-18 Revised % change from BE 2017-18 to RE


2018-19 Budgeted % change from RE 2017-18 to BE


Capital Expenditure 11,286 9,974 10,005 0.3% 11,432 14.3%
Revenue Expenditure 91,096 1,09,628 1,01,346 -7.6% 1,15,661 14.1%
Total Expenditure 1,02,383 1,19,602 1,11,352 -6.9% 1,27,093 14.1%
A. Debt Repayment 7,706 13,606 12,228 -10.1% 14,832 21.3%
B. Interest Payments 12,117 13,632 13,526 -0.8% 14,938 10.4%
Debt Servicing (A+B) 19,823 27,238 25,754 -5.4% 29,770 15.6%

Note:  Capital expenditure includes: (i) spending that creates assets, (ii) repayments on the loans taken by the government, and (iii) loans provided by the government.

Sources: Kerala Budget Documents 2018-19; PRS.

Sector expenditure in 2018-19

The departments listed below account for 49% of the total budgeted expenditure of Kerala in 2018-19.  A comparison of Kerala’s expenditure on key sectors with 18 other states can be found in the Annexure.

Table 3: Department-wise expenditure for Kerala Budget 2018-19 (Rs crore)

Department 2016-17 2017-18 2017-18 2018-19 % change from RE 2017-18 to BE 2018-19 Budget provisions for 2018-19
Actuals Budgeted Revised Budgeted
Education, Sports, Art and Culture 17,574 20,206 19,182 20,889 8.9%
  • Rs 970 crore will be spent on school education.  Approximately Rs 320 crore will be spent on mid-day meals programmes.
  • Rs 290 crore is expected to be spent on secondary education under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • Rs 106 crore will be spent on higher secondary education.
Compensation and assignments to local bodies 5,497 8,247 6,013 9,129 51.8%
  • Rs 7,000 crore will be spent on local governance institutions.
  • 19% of the allocated budget will be used for creation of capital assets in local bodies.
Medical and Public Health 5,489 6,314 6,304 6,727 6.7%
  • Rs 837 crore is expected to be spent under the National Health Mission.
  • Rs 248 crore will be used to set up 11 medical colleges, five dental colleges, and six nursing colleges.
Public Works 5,311 5,280 5,395 5,580 3.4%
  • Rs 1,454 will be spent on construction of roads and bridges.  155 dilapidated bridges and culverts will be renovated over the next five years.
  • 42 new rail over bridges will be constructed.
Social Security and Welfare 5,360 4,428 5,886 4,677 -20.5%
  • Rs 200 crore has been allocated to Kudumbashree, the state poverty eradication mission of Kerala government.
  • Contributory Pension Scheme will be started for those who are not eligible for Social Welfare Pension.
Police 3,215 3,897 3,841 4,092 6.5%
  • 97% of the budgeted funds will be spent on revenue expenditure.  Remaining 3% will be utilized for capital creation.
  • Rs 160 crore has been allocated to modernize the police department.
Rural Development 811 3,879 1,087 3,871 256.1%
  • Allocation to rural development has seen the largest increase among all departments.
Agriculture 3,307 3,558 3,435 3,979 15.8%
  • A Farmer’s Welfare Fund Board will be constituted.
  • Rs 87 crore will be spent on development of vegetable cultivation.  Rs 60 crore has been marked as subsidy under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.  Rs 54 crore will be spent on improving crop health and Rs 50 crore will be spent on development of coconut.
Welfare of SC/ ST 2,825 3,308 3,006 3,234 7.6%
  • The largest component under the Special Component Plan (SCP) for SCs and Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) for STs is housing, with a share of 23% and 29% respectively.
  • An amount of Rs 464 crore in SCP and Rs 119 crore in TSP is provided for education.
% of total expenditure 47% 49% 49% 49%    

Note: All amounts are net numbers.

Source: Kerala Budget Documents and Budget Speech 2018-19; PRS.

Receipts in 2018-19

In 2017-18, government revenue receipts are estimated to be 5.7% (Rs 5,318 crore) less than the budgeted estimates.  This decrease is driven by a decline of 8.6% (Rs 4,588 crore) in tax revenue collection, the largest component of the state’s revenue (57%).

There has also been an under-collection of revenue on account of state lotteries.  In 2017-18, Rs 9,196 crore was estimated to be received under state lotteries.  This has been revised down to Rs 8,914 crore.

  • The total revenue receipts for 2018-19 are estimated to be Rs 1,02,801 crore, an increase of 16.5% over the revised estimates of 2017-18. Of this, Rs 72,860 crore (71% of the revenue receipts) will be raised by the state through its own resources, and Rs 29,942 crore (29% of the revenue receipts) will be devolved by the centre in the form of grants and the state’s share in taxes.
  • Non-Tax Revenue: Kerala has estimated to generate Rs 14,271 crore through non-tax sources in 2018-19.  The estimated increase of 21.7% in non-tax revenue will be driven by receipts from state lotteries.  In 2018-19, state lotteries have been budgeted to contribute Rs 11,110 crore.

Table 4: Break up of state government receipts (Rs crore)

Item 2016-2017 Actuals 2017-2018 Budgeted 2017-18 Revised % change from BE 2017-18 to RE


2018-2019 Budgeted % change from RE 2017-18 to BE


State’s Own Tax 42,176 53,411 48,823 -8.6% 58,588 20.0%
State’s Own Non-Tax 9,700 12,038 11,729 -2.6% 14,271 21.7%
Share in Central Taxes 15,225 16,892 16,892 0.0% 19,932 18.0%
Grants-in-aid from Centre 8,510 11,244 10,823 -3.7% 10,009 -7.5%
Total Revenue Receipts 75,612 93,585 88,267 -5.7% 1,02,801 16.5%
Borrowings 26,440 25,279 22,082 -12.6% 23,881 8.2%
Other receipts 322 261 310 18.9% 335 8.0%
Total Capital Receipts 26,763 25,540 22,392 -12.3% 24,217 8.1%
Total Receipts 1,02,374 1,19,124 1,10,659 -7.1% 1,27,018 14.8%

*includes additional resource mobilisation.

Sources: Kerala Budget Documents 2018-19; PRS.

The state is expected to get additional tax revenue of Rs 60 crore through increased tax on alcohol.

Vehicles owners with vehicles registered in Puducherry but using them in Kerala can pay tax to the state by April 2018 and get themselves exempted from legal proceedings.  Through this measure, the government expects to generate Rs 100.

  • Tax Revenue: Total own tax revenue of Kerala is estimated to be Rs 58,588 crore in 2018-19.  The composition of the state’s tax revenue is shown in Figure 2.  The tax to GSDP ratio is targeted at 7.6% in 2018-19, which is higher than the revised estimate of 7.1% in 2017-18.


Deficits, Debts and FRBM Targets for 2018-19

The Kerala Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, 2003 provides annual targets to progressively reduce the outstanding liabilities, revenue deficit and fiscal deficit of the state government.

Debt as a percentage of GSDP has been increasing over the past few years.  It has gone up from 25.6% in 2013-14 to 30.2% in 2016-17.

Revenue deficit:  It is the excess of revenue expenditure over revenue receipts.  A revenue deficit implies that the government needs to borrow in order to finance its expenses which do not create capital assets.

The budget estimates a revenue deficit of Rs 12,860 crore (1.7% of GSDP) in 2018-19.  This implies that revenue receipts are expected to be lower than the revenue expenditure, resulting in a deficit.  The 14th Finance Commission had recommended that states should eliminate revenue deficits.  The estimates in the Kerala Budget 2018-19 suggest that the state will not be meeting this target of eliminating revenue deficit.

Fiscal deficit:  It is the excess of total expenditure over total receipts.  This gap is filled by borrowings by the government, and leads to an increase in total liabilities.  In 2018-19, fiscal deficit is estimated to be Rs 23,957 crore, which is 3.1% of the GSDP.  The estimate exceeds the 3% limit prescribed by the 14th Finance Commission.  While setting the 3% target, the Finance Commission has recommended that this limit may be relaxed to a maximum of 3.5%, if states are able to contain their debt and interest payments to certain specified levels.

Outstanding Liabilities:  It is the accumulation of borrowings over the years.  In 2018-19, the outstanding liabilities are expected at 30.7% of the GSDP.

Table 5: Budget targets for deficits for Kerala in 2018-19 (% of GSDP)

Year Revenue Fiscal Outstanding Liabilities
Deficit (-)/Surplus (+) Deficit (-)/Surplus (+)  
2016-17 -2.5% -4.3% 30.2%
RE 2017-18 -1.9% -3.3% 30.7%
BE 2018-19 -1.7% -3.1% 30.7%
2019-20 -1.5% -3.0% 30.1%
2020-21 -1.3% -2.9% 29.7%

Sources: Kerala Budget Documents 2018-19; PRS.

Figures 3 and 4 show the trend in deficits and outstanding liabilities targets from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

Figure 3: Revenue and Fiscal Deficit (as % of GSDP)

 Note:  Figures for 2019-20 and 2020-21 are projections.

Sources: Kerala Budget Documents; PRS.

Figure 4:Outstanding liabilities targets (as % of GSDP)

Note:  Figures for 2019-20 and 2020-21 are projections.

Sources: Kerala Budget Documents; PRS.


The graphs below compare Kerala’s expenditure on four key sectors as a proportion of its total budget, with 18 other states.[1]

  • Education: Kerala has allocated 16.4% on education in 2018-19.  This is marginally higher than the average expenditure allocated to education by 18 other states (using 2017-18 BE).
  • Health: Kerala has allocated 5.3% of its total expenditure on health, which is higher than the average expenditure of 18 other states.
  • Agriculture and allied activities: The state has allocated 5.7% of its total budget on agriculture and allied activities.  This is lower than the allocations of 18 other states (6.4%).
  • Rural development: Kerala has allocated 3.5% of its expenditure on rural development.  This is significantly lower than the average (5.6%) of the 18 other states.

Note:  2017-18 (BE), 2017-18 (RE), and 2018-19 (BE) figures are for the state of Kerala.

Source: Annual Financial Statement (2017-18 and 2018-19), various state budgets; PRS.


[1] The 18 states apart from Kerala are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.


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