Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the government is temporarily setting aside a part of the salary of State employees to help it tide over the COVID-19-induced financial crisis.
At his customary news briefing on Wednesday, Mr. Vijayan said the government would deduct the salary of State employees for six days every month for the next five months.
The salary cut also applied to public sector units, government-aided and quasi-government institutions. Ministers, legislators and members of various boards would give up 30% of their monthly salary for the next year.
The government would constitute an expert committee to study the economic fallout of the pandemic and suggest means to come out of the abyss of economic recession.
Mr. Vijayan said the pandemic had adversely impacted the global economy. The outbreak happened when the country's economic growth had slowed from 9% to 5%. It had laid low the economies of wealthy nations.
COVID-19 had hit Kerala close on the heels of the catastrophic floods in 2018 and 2019. The State's impressive 7.5% growth rate could plummet. The remittances from non-resident Keralites had slumped.
Tourism and construction business have ground to a halt. Traditional sectors were moribund. Exponentially increasing unemployment has robbed people of their purchasing power.
Kerala is predominantly a consumer State and had to import its food and a range of essential commodities from other regions. Ensuring food security was paramount.
Mr. Vijayan unveiled a plan to restart the economy by focussing on achieving self-sufficiency in food production. The government would not allow fallow land to languish without cultivation.
The State would resort to cage farming to grow pricey marine species, including mussels, clams, crabs, shrimps and lobsters. It would promote fish farming in inland water, lagoons and water bodies. The State would promote ornamental fish culture.