Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, celebrating his government's first anniversary, announced here on Monday proposals for the second year combining welfare programmes, administrative reforms and fresh initiatives on development projects launched earlier.

Presenting his plan at a function organised on the occasion by the Public Relations and Information Department, Mr. Chandy said Kerala would be made the first digital State through e-governance initiatives to improve efficiency and transparency and help faster decision-making.

He said the Right to Service Bill would be introduced in the coming Assembly session. Chief Minister's fellowships would be instituted to promote new ideas and perceptions in administration. The fellowships, to be coordinated by the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, would be given to 38 people.

The other plans include legislation to protect women's privacy, fast-track courts under the Nirbhaya project to prevent atrocities on women and children, facility to file complaints with the police without going to the station, waiver of penal interest on cooperative loans taken by poor families and waiver of the principal up to Rs. 1 lakh in the event of the loanee's death, incentives for prompt repayment of loans in the form of interest-free loans for short-term agriculture advances, and one-time settlement for farm and Housing Board loan arrears. The Chief Minister said patients who did not come under the income tax bracket would be given free generic medicines at government hospitals. The fund would be mobilised by levying a 1 per cent surcharge on the price of liquor sold through the Kerala State Beverages Corporation outlets. Mr. Chandy also announced steps to complete pending appointments under the dying-in-harness scheme and sports quota and for the physically challenged and pay pension for orphaned children and helpers of mental patients.

The Chief Minister said compensation for damage to crops during the monsoon would be revised. He mentioned steps proposed to ensure road safety, cattle insurance, opening of 1,213 additional cooperative marketing stores to distribute essential commodities, distribution of pattayams (title deeds) and amendment of procedures related to sale.

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