Emphasis on higher education, healthcare, and social welfare

The Kerala Cabinet approved on Wednesday the annual Plan for the coming year, pegged at Rs.17,000 crore.

The Plan lays emphasis on higher education, healthcare, and social welfare. Special initiatives are proposed to achieve self-sufficiency in milk and vegetable production.

The Cabinet decided to recommend to the Governor the promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Kerala Abkari Act. It seeks to increase the gallonage fee payable by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation to the government, besides banning sale of liquor to people below the age of 21 years. (Currently, liquor can be sold to persons above 18 years of age.) The ordinance will make it mandatory for all visual media, including films, to show statutory warning when showing scenes of people consuming liquor.

12 ordinances

The Cabinet recommended re-promulgation of 12 ordinances which could not be replaced during the last session of the Assembly. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that the Cabinet which had met on Tuesday recommended to the Governor the proroguing of the Assembly.

The Kerala State Electricity Board would join the scheme for Financial Restructuring of State Distribution Companies. However, the Centre will be told that the State would have no private franchise or public-private partnerships for power distribution, the Chief Minister said.

The medico-legal code will be amended to allow post-mortems at night in government medical colleges, general hospitals, and district hospitals, subject to installation of proper lighting systems. Besides, the Cabinet approved a proposal for starting 25 new Ayurveda dispensaries.

The Cabinet sanctioned Rs.20.28 crore for building a stadium at Mundayar, near Kannur, for the National Games and approved the memorandum and articles of association for the proposed State Housing Development and Finance Corporation.

Risk allowance

It further decided to grant risk allowance to protection staff of the Forest Department working in reserve forests, sanctuaries, and national parks. Staff injured while on duty will be eligible for reimbursements for treatment in private hospitals. This decision was taken in view of an increasing number of man-animal conflicts, Mr. Chandy said.

The State government will provide Rs.50 lakh to the National Safety Commission, Ernakulam, to set up a centre for safety training and research. About 50 acres of land near Palakkad will be allotted for the medical college proposed to be started by the Department of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Development while 25 acres in possession of FACT in Kochi will be transferred to the Central Warehousing Corporation for setting up a container freight station.

The regional office of the All India Council for Technical Education here will be granted 50 cents belonging to the College of Engineering, Trivandrum, for constructing an office building.

More In: Kerala | National | News