Information and Communication Technology and Tourism will get substantial sums from the budget for 2011-12.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said in his budget speech in the Assembly on Thursday that a sum of Rs.102 crore would be earmarked for additional land acquisition for IT parks. A sum of Rs.30 crore would be set apart for the Kerala State Information Technology Mission which was the nodal agency for e-governance programmes. The Indian Institute of Information Technology Management which is the main agency for research studies and experiments in the IT sector would get Rs.9 crore. The Akshaya project would get Rs.3 crore and Akshaya entrepreneurs Rs.2 crore as special assistance.

Dr. Isaac said that during the last five years the total extent of area of IT parks had been enhanced from 339 acres to 2,261 acres. The area of the building had been increased from 18.9 lakh sq.ft. to 76.1 lakh sq.ft. In addition to this, 39 lakh sq.ft. of building construction was under progress.

He said that SmartCity had become a reality, safeguarding the interests of the State. The project would have a built-up area of 62 lakh sq.ft. when it is completed. The Cherthala and Koratty parks stood as examples of the will of the government to accelerate IT development, he said.

The Minister allotted Rs.105 crore for the tourism sector which he described as the fastest growing economic sector in the State. Twelve per cent of foreign tourists who came to India visited Kerala. A sum of Rs.60 crore would be set apart for improving physical facilities and marketing for attracting private investors and tourists. To develop new tourism products and to encourage private entrepreneurs, Rs.6.5 crore would be provided. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) would get Rs.5 crore for starting new hotels in Alappuzha and Kozhikode. The Kerala Travel Mart would be given Rs.1 crore.

The idea of Muziris Heritage project was put forth in his first budget speech after the present government took over. It took two years for the idea to become operational due to the novelty and uniqueness of the content and approach. The Centre would provide Rs.40 crore for the project which would cost Rs.150 crore.

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