New Delhi, Mar 18: The Government today denied that Kerala was being discriminated against in allotment of Central funds for development of tourism on the basis of party affiliation of the state Government.
Replying to supplementaries in the Rajya Sabha, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said the Ministry did not discriminate against states and funds were being allotted by the Finance Ministry to Kerala for tourism development.
''The Ministry does not work or take decisions keeping in mind the party affiliation of the state government. The Finance Ministry has not made any provision for additional funds for Kerala Tourism development,''said Ms Soni.
''Kerala is the most prized success story of the Tourism Ministry,'' the Minister said in reply to allegations by SP member Jaya Bachchan that the Centre was discriminating against Kerala because the Left was in power in the state.
To which, the agitated Minister took strong objection and said if the state government corroborated the SP member's statement she would apologise in the House.
''Its an open challenge... if the state government confirms this I am ready to apologise in the House,'' she added.
However on a question by Left member Vijay Raghvan, the Minister admitted that fund allocation for Tourism in Karala was not adequate and of the 22 project proposals sent by the state government, only 7 projects worth Rs 138.9 crore had been cleared in the current financial year.
Amid noisy scenes by SP members, party leader Amar Singh, in support of his party colleague Ms Bachchan, said Ms Soni had admitted to inadequate fund allotment to Kerala and demanded that she apologise. Other SP members also joined issue with him.