Rural business hubs to provide job opportunities
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A special pension scheme for farmers, establishment of rural business hubs to provide sustainable job opportunities for the poor, a new town and country planning Bill, a housing relief fund for BPL (below poverty line) families and separate ombudsmen for cooperative banking institutions and Devaswom boards are some of the key promises contained in the Governor’s policy address to the Assembly delivered on Wednesday.
Delivering the policy address, Governor R.L. Bhatia pointed out that farmers constituted the only group in the State that did not enjoy benefits of pension schemes. There was also the need to train the younger generation to handle modern agriculture machines and tools. For this purpose and to infuse new technology into dairy farming, an agri-polytechnic would be started under Kerala Agricultural University and high-tech dairy farms set in Idukki and Wayanad districts with the involvement of non-resident Indians. A high-tech export-orient meat plant would be set up at Chalakudy with public-private participation, he added.
The rural business hubs would be set up under an initiative called Samagra, one in every district initially, under the auspices of the Kudumabsree Mission. The business hubs would focus on niche areas in agriculture and animal husbandry and value-addition to agriculture produce.
Urban poverty mapping
Urban poverty mapping would be done in all local bodies in preparation for the formulation of anti-poverty sub-plans. Under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, a health insurance scheme would be introduced in Kollam and Alappuzha districts this year to provide up to Rs.30,000 as insurance coverage to BPL worker families. The scheme would be extended to all districts in four years.
The government would take up a project for four/six-laning of National Highway 47 and National Highway 17. It would set up a State Data Centre at Technopark to provide further impetus to e-governance activities and roll out total e-governance solutions for the Commercial Taxes Department and the public distribution system. It would also develop an e-waste policy and prepare Citizen’s Charters for all departments. The proposed housing relief fund to provide assistance to BPL families would have support from Central and State governments, local bodies, MPs and MLAs.