Kerala Budget | 8 lakh jobs to be created in 2021- 22

Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac leaving to the State Assembly with Budget papers, in Thiruvananthapuram on January 15, 2021.   | Photo Credit: S. Mahinsha

Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac began the presentation of the Budget claiming Kerala had scripted a success story in the management of COVID-19.

He outlined the different measures launched by the Health department to control the pandemic and the steps taken to provide relief to those affected by the lockdown.

Mr. Issac spoke of the hike in welfare pension, CM’s 100 day action plan and the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) projects.

He announced that all welfare pensions would be increased to ₹1600 and 4000 posts would be created in the Health department.

He allocatted ₹1000 crore for local bodies.

He slammed the Centre for not providing funds to States to tide over COVID-19-induced crisis, accusing it of using the pandemic to push neo-liberal reforms. He also flayed the Centre’s farm laws, adding the government would have to surrender to the farmers’ demand of repealing the laws.

Floor price of rubber was hiked to ₹170; paddy procurement price increased to ₹28 and that of coconut to ₹32.

‘8,00,000 jobs in 2021-22’

The Finance Minister said 8,00,000 jobs would be created in 2021- 22 and KIIFB projects worth ₹15,000 crore would be completed this year.

Outlining steps for the creation of employment opportunities, Mr. Isaac proposed a digital platform to connect those seeking employment and the employers. He said loans to set up work stations for those employed through the digital platform would be facilitated.

He said Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC) would be registered as society and ₹200 crore earmarked for it to take up skill training of youth. Skill Mission would be established under K-DISC to provide customised skill training to unemployed youth, he said.

Kudumbasree Mission to be allotted ₹5 crore to identify educated, unemployed women and provide them jobs.

First phase of K-FON project would be completed in February, he said. The project will provide high speed Internet service at affordable rates.

2,00,000 jobs to be created in the agricultural sector, the Minister said.

'Laptops for all'

He announced that laptops would be made available for all households, through a 50% concession for families belonging to weaker sections.

30 centres of excellence would be set up in universities, he said. Through KIIFB, an outlay of ₹2000 crore for universities and ₹1000 crore for affiliated colleges was announced.

He said 500 post-doctoral fellowships would be awarded to attract young scientists from abroad to work in State universities.

Proposing a four-point action planto encourage innovation in different spheres, Mr. Issac said a digital platform for innovators to upload inventions would be up. Innovations would then be graded by K-DISC. Promising innovators would receive mentoring and financial aid.

₹40 crore was allocated for 'Kerala Innovation Challenge'.

Six-point programme for promoting startups

The Minister said 2,500 new startups to be set up in 2021- 22.

He proposed the setting up of 'Startup innovation zones', and gave a six-point programme for promoting startups in the State.

₹50 crore was allocated to provide matching funds for startups getting venture capital/ angel funding. He also announced that a startup consortium would be established. Priority would be given to these in bids floated by government departments.

The Finance Minister announced that Kerala State Drugs and Pharmaceuticals to set up new unit to manufacture cancer drugs.

₹50,000 crore was allocated for Kochi- Palakkad and Kochi- Mangalore industrial corridors and Vizhinjam- Navayikulam road corridor project in Thiruvananthapuram.

16,000 MSMEs to be set up in 2021- 22.

₹2,000 crore earmarked for the promotion of small enterprises.

Champions Boat League to resume

For the tourism sector, Mr. Isaac proposed ₹10 crore for Travancore heritage project and ₹5 crore for study tours to Muziris.

Pravasi online meet would be organised by local bodies in July for non-resident Keralites (NRKs). ₹100 crore was allocated to provide jobs for NRKs affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Champions Boat League will resume this year, after a break caused by the COVID-19 crisis, he said.

₹100 crore allocated for the construction of a hotel at Munnar.

₹112 crore earmarked for the development of coir sector in the State.

Poverty alleviation

Isaac proposed micro planning to identify, register and provide poor families with jobs, ration cards and health cards, while proposing steps for poverty eradication.

Integration of poverty alleviation schemes were mooted.

₹6000 crore allocated for poverty alleviation programmes over five years.

Agriculture, fisheries and coastal development

₹1500 crore was kept aside for fisheries sector and ₹250 crore for coastal development.

10,000 families in coastal areas would be provided houses under various schemes, the Minister said.

New constructions made using government funds  will ensure that differently-abled people will have barrier-free access to them, Mr. Issac said.

Allocation of ₹30 crore was made for geriatric care facilities.

The Finance Minister announced slaughter waste-free programme for local bodies under the 'total sanitation mission'.

Honorarium of all local body members hiked by ₹1,000.

Earmarking ₹75 crore for replantation of coconut trees, the Minister mooted the development of coconut clusters to promote the manufacture of value-added coconut products.

Support price was announced for coffee farmers. Kudambasree, he announced, would set up a network of coffee machines and kiosks for Wayanad coffee.

₹258 crore was allocated for farm mechanisation and horticulture development.

ASHA workers' allowance hiked

All government schools, Mr. Issac said, would be installed with rooftop solar units.

₹30 crore was earmarked for augmenting IT facilities in schools, wihle ₹111 crore was earmarked for vocational higher secondary schools.

The Minister proposed setting up psycho-social counselling facilities in all schools.

ASHA workers' allowance would be hiked by ₹1,000 in recognition of their role in COVID-19 management, the Minister said.

₹420 crore was allocated for medical colleges. ₹30 crore allocated for Regional Cancer Centre for early diagnosis of cancer.

₹780 crore was allocated for piped water supply to households under Jaljeevan Mission.

1.5 lakh new houses to be constructed under Life Mission, he said.

₹30 crore was earmarked for constructing playgrounds in villages.

He also proposed a participatory programme for the clean-up of canals.

Pension for journalists and non-journalists was hiked by ₹1000.

Mr. Issac announced ₹50 crore to KSRTC for the introduction of 3,000 CNG-run buses.

He said motor vehicle tax for electric and hybrid vehicles would be relaxed. 50% waiver was announced on one-time building tax for eco-friendly constructions.

Earmarking ₹20 crore for Kudumbasree Mission to take up campaign against atrocities on women, Mr. Issac said local bodies would help map violence against women.

'Will not allow lotteries from other States to exploit citizens'

Finance Minister said the government would not allow lotteries from other State to exploit citizens and announced steps to make Kerala Lottery more attractive. He also mooted welfare measures for lottery vendors.

VAT on LNG, CNG to be decreased to 5% as in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Issac said.

He also announced that electricity cess would be waived for the first three years for new industries.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 9:29:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-budget-january-15-2021-issac-thomas-live/article33577359.ece

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