Assembly session to begin on January 3

The State Budget for 2014-15 is likely to be presented to the Assembly on January 17.

The Cabinet on Wednesday recommended to the Governor the convening of the Assembly from January 3. The House will be in session till February 12.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that the date of presentation of the Budget was tentatively fixed for January 17, but the schedule would be confirmed by the Business Advisory Committee of the House.

Creamy layer

The Chief Minister said the Cabinet had decided that the income limit of Rs.6 lakh a year specified for reservation benefits for other backward classes in appointments should apply for educational benefits also. (The Cabinet had changed the income criterion for determining the creamy layer among other backward classes from Rs.4.5 lakh to Rs.6 lakh a year last month. However, the decision with respect to reservation in the education sector had been kept pending.)

Kannur airport

Mr. Chandy said the Cabinet had approved a financial action plan for Kannur airport that envisaged government funding of Rs.132 crore over five years.

He said the airport would become operational by 2015. The tender for the run way had been finalised and work would start soon.

The State government funding might not even be needed; but was being provided as viability gap funding to enable the airport company to get loans from financial institutions. The Cabinet had revised the State funding for Kochi Metro. Administrative sanction had been accorded for Rs.242.47 crore against Rs.158.68 crore sanctioned earlier.

It had also sanctioned Rs.12.87 crore as State share for the Arogyakiranam project. Benefits under the project would be available to both APL and BPL ration card holders, excluding income tax payers and government employees.

The annual income limit for getting financial assistance for leprosy, tuberculosis, and cancer patients had been raised to Rs.1 lakh from Rs.2,400 a year.

A monthly assistance of Rs.800 was available to patients under the scheme, Mr. Chandy said.

The pay scales of permanent employees of the Child Development Centre would be revised based on the recommendations of the Ninth Pay Commission.

The Cabinet permitted the contract for the Kottayam bypass (Manarcaud to Pattithanam) to be awarded, allowing tender excess of 10 per cent. The Public Works Department (PWD) would take over the Kandamkali road at Thiruvalla on the basis of understanding reached with people of the locality.

Posts sanctioned

The Cabinet sanctioned 11 posts for Minority Commission and 188 posts for Thrissur Medical College. Besides, 25 new posts were sanctioned for the new police station at Elamakkara near Ernakulam. Posts were also sanctioned for the newly sanctioned fishing harbours at Manjeswaram, Vellayil, and Tanur and fish landing centre at Munackal.

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