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Kerala budget 2021 updates : Free food kit distribution to continue; Scheme to ensure laptop in every family.

Dr. Thomas Isaac has declared a scheme wherein one laptop for each family will be ensured. As part of this, the laptop scheme declared in 100-day action plan will be expanded, he stated in the Assembly.

Rs 300 crores for new medical college in Wayanad

A Medical College Hospital, one of the long-standing demands of the people of Wayanad district, will be realized in the next two years, Isaac said. The government, he said, would allocate Rs 300 crores for the construction of a medical college hospital in the district. There will also be a research centre to study new genetic diseases like sickle-cell.

Thrust on railway projects

The Kasaragod-Thiruvananthapuram semi high-speed railway corridor, also known as Silver Rail, is a flagship project of the LDF government through which one can travel by train from one end of the state to the other in under four hours. Currently, it takes around 12 hours for the same journey.

The FM has underlined that land allocation for the K-rail project will begin soon. The DPR of the Rs 66,000 crore project got approval from the state cabinet in June last year.

Also, the FM underlined that Kerala was ready to share the cost of the Sabari railway which will involve laying railway lines from Angamaly to take trains to Sabarimala.

Some key announcements in FM’s speech

* Allowance for ASHA workers hiked by Rs 1000

* Identification cards to be issued by govt soon for roadside sellers

* Honorarium for elected local body representatives to be hiked by Rs 1000

* Allocation of Rs 10 crores for welfare of migrant workers

* Rs 520 crores for midday meal scheme in schools

* Counsellors to be appointed in all government schools.

* Rs 60 crores to be allocated for special schools in the state

Benefits for ration card holders

Holders of white and blue coloured ration cards will be able to purchase 10 kilos of rice at Rs 15/kg in a new announcement by the FM. This is seen as expanding the state government’s effective public distribution system.

Key allotments in the tourist sector

* Rs 100 crores (highest allotment) for tourism marketing

* Social welfare board to be formed for employees in the tourism sector

* Rs 7 crores for Muziris-Kochi Biennale

* Rs 40 crores for Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram heritage projects

* Rs 5 crores to encourage student trips to heritage places in state

* Interest-free loans for entrepreneurs in tourism sector

Train service to Munnar under consideration

The state government is pondering about introducing a train service through the popular hill station of Munnar to attract tourists. Discussions are on with Tata company, which owns a majority of the tea gardens there, to allocate land for the service.

In the British era, there was a train service to Munnar which fell in disrepair.

Very few poems this time

Thomas Isaac is known for quoting poems and prose passages of eminent Malayalam writers during his budget speeches. Last year, Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala had poked fun at him, saying he should note down his literary musings in a separate book and hand it to Opposition leaders rather than employ them during a serious budget speech.

This time, the FM has quoted very few poems in his budget speech and has largely stuck to the announcements.

Digital platform to encourage hiring, help job creation

As part of a new project to reduce unemployment in Kerala, one of the highest in the country, the government plans to create a digital platform through which employers can find the right candidates. Loans will be available to job-seekers to purchase laptops and computers.

Through Skill Mission, 50 lakh people will get skilled in order to get jobs. Target is 20 lakh jobs to be created in the next five years.

‘Laptop in every home’

The finance minister has announced that the laptop distribution project of the state government will be expanded in a way that every household in the state will have access to a laptop.

BPL families will be able to purchase laptops at a subsidy of 25% and those classified as ‘financially vulnerable’ will get free laptops.

Additionally, 3.5 lakh students in the state will get access to digital study materials.

Big announcements for education sector

* 1000 new posts to be created in universities.

* Setting up 30 centres of excellence among existing universities.

* Rs 1000-crs outlay for affiliated colleges

* 800 vacancies in the higher education sector to be filled instantly.

* Creation of new post-doctoral fellowships to encourage research.

‘Organised attack on KIIFB’

Isaac, in his budget speech, condemned what he termed as an ‘organised attack’ on KIIFB, the favourite investment arm of the Kerala government which has faced allegations of corruption. In the last 5 years, the LDF government has leaned heavily on KIIFB to steamroll many of its social welfare projects: from building roads and bridges to upgradation of schools and hospitals.

Some other key announcements

* Government to create 8000 new posts in the health department.

* First phase of the flagship scheme K-Fon, envisaging affordable internet for everyone, will conclude next month.

* Govt plans to give 8 lakh new jobs in the next financial year.

* Rs 1000-cr outlay for self-governing local bodies

* 3900 new startups have been created in the state in last 5 years.

Base price fixed for rubber

One of the important commodities coming out from Kerala, rubber will now have a base price. The budget envisages that the base price of rubber has been fixed at Rs 170, helping shore up earnings of farmers.

Social welfare pensions hiked by Rs 100

A populist measure, the finance minister has announced the widely-expected move of hiking the social welfare pensions by Rs 100. The monthly pension will now be Rs 1600.

Welcome to the blog

Welcome to our live blog where we will be discussing the announcements by Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac as he presents the last budget for the current LDF government.

Women who arrived for work await information after the Cochin Special Economic Zone that houses several industrial units was closed as part of Covid-19 containment measures in Kochi on Oct 1, 2020. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)


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