In addition to the scheme for the workers, the Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said, a green fund with a corpus of Rs. 1000 crores would be used for regeneration of forests and related activities.

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac announced rice at Rs. 2 a kg to workers in the unorganised and traditional sectors as he began presenting the budget at the State Assembly today.

He earmarked Rs. 500 crore for the scheme. He also announced an income support scheme for traditional workers. The health insurance scheme would be expanded.

Welfare pensions would be increased to Rs. 300 a month. The pension would be available to one of the helpers of disabled also. New allowances were announced for SC and ST students.

Mr. Issac said a green fund would be formed with a corpus of Rs. 1000 crores. The fund would be used for regeneration of forests and related activities. Assistance would be provided for protection of mangroves and sea turtles. Rs. 100 crore would be allocated for planting of trees. Desilting of dams would be intensified for recovery of sand.

He also announced that Rs. 1500 crore would be spent for saving power through measures such as the use of CFL lamps. Municipalities would be given assistance to set up plastic recycling units.

Selected police circle offices would be made women-friendly. Marriage assistance of SC and ST women would be increased. Assistance to Kudumbasree would go up.

He said that the LNG terminal in Kochi would be commissioned in 2012. Rs. 17 crore had been earmarked for works related to the project.

Mr. Isaac said that the government had been able to bring down the suicides of farmers. Farmers suffering losses in agriculture would be compensated.

He began his speech by recalling the verses of poet Vyloppilly Sreedhara Menon. Relating to the verses, the Minister said that he was presenting a red and green budget.

Revenues had gone up. But expenditure needs to be controlled. But there would be no miserly attitude as far as the welfare of the weaker sections is concerned.

The Finance Minister said that deficit could be checked only if the Central government provided assistance. The anti-people policies of Central government increased deficits. So the Fiscal Responsibility Act could not be implemented in full. ASEAN trade pact would hit the farmers.

The allocation for agriculture sector would be increased by about 50 per cent to Rs. 622 crore. Rs. 30 crores was being earmarked for coconut development. Cattle insurance would be implemented from this year.

He said that the price rise was the lowest in Kerala.

Keywords: BudgetKerala