At sharp 9 am on Friday, Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac began presenting the State Budget for the financial year 2021-2022 in the Assembly. He started it by reciting a poem penned by K Sneha, a class 7 student of a school in Palakkad.
It is for the 12th time that the Finance Minister is presenting the state budget and the 6th in the Pinarayi-led Left government’s. The budget offers various promises, which includes increase of all welfare pensions to Rs 1,600 per month. The revised welfare pension scheme will be implemented from April. The State government promises to create 8 lakh job vacancies and the pension amount has been increased by Rs 100.
An amount of Rs 1,000 crore will be granted to the local bodies for developmental activities. Amidst the pandemic crisis, nearly 4000 new posts will be created in the health department.
In the coming year, the state will witness introduction of Rs 15000 crore KIIFB projects. To help the rubber cultivators, the minimum price has been decided as Rs 170. Around Rs 52 crore has been allocated to the struggling handloom sector. Aiming to reduce unemployment, 5 lakh more jobs will be created in agricultural and non-agricultural segment.
The pandemic had a huge hit on NRKs, the State budget to provide Rs 3000 as pension for NRKs returned from abroad and around Rs 100 crore for coordinating NRK rehabilitation activities. Nearly Rs 100 crore will be allocated for Ayyankali employment guarantee scheme. A minimum of 75 working days will be ensured under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. In July, ‘Pravasi Meet’ will be organized to collect details on expatriates.
The budget promises to provide Rs 7 crore for Kochi Muziris Biennale. 2021 will witness the kick start of three industrial corridors. In order to produce drugs in large amount, Pharma Park will be implemented. 197 new courses will be added to NAAC ‘A’ accredited colleges. Aiming to improve education sector, Rs 2000 crore will be reserved for infrastructure development of universities and soon 886 vacant university teaching posts will be filled along with addition of 150 more teaching posts. The colleges will see 10 per cent increase of seat.
At half price, laptops will be ensured to students from poor families and the government will make sure that all homes have laptops. As work from home is the new normal, the government through KFC, KSFE, Kerala Bank will provide loans to support work from home or work near home initiatives. As a relief to cultivators, coconut procurement price has been increased from Rs 22 to Rs 32 and for rice it is increased to Rs 28.
Medicines will be delivered to senior citizens through Karunya At Home initiative. For supporting fisheries sector, Rs 1500 crore has been allocated. Under the Life Mission of 2021-22, 40,000 Scheduled Caste families and 12,000 Scheduled Tribe families will get homes.
Moreover, food kit distribution amidst the pandemic to continue and 50 Lakh families to get extra 10 kg rice at Rs 15 per kg.
Meanwhile , the Finance Minister did not forget to mention Centre and central agencies while addressing the Assembly. He stated that the Centre had played a crucial role in increasing the financial crisis that the Kerala experienced.