Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tables the Kerala State Budget 2021 hoping to revive the state economy, which is reeling under the impact of pandemic. He presented the budget for more than three hours thus sets a new record for lengthy budget speech (3 hours 18 minutes). He breaks the record of 2hrs and 58 minutes set by KM Mani, who was the Finance Minister in 2013.
For the financial year 2021-22, the proposed budget provides a handful of welfare and developmental promises to the State. The budget promises to pay the salary arrears in three instalments. Also, pensions will be revised. In April, the government will issue orders on this matter after considering the recommendations of the salary revision panel.
Coming as a major relief to all, the flood cess will be stopped after July 2021. If the cess is removed, the price of gold, vehicles, home appliances and electronics will likely be reduced. The flood cess was introduced from August 1, 2019 to help recover from the destructions caused by the flood in 2018.
There will also be an increase in honorarium for Kudumbashree Community Development Society (CDS)to Rs 8,000. Kudumbashree will be equipped to coordinate the crime mapping against women.
A sum of Rs 35 crore has been sanctioned as salary to KTDC staff and Rs 25 crore will be reserved to revive the tourism sector in the State.
Solar panels will be placed at all schools. Meanwhile, Rs 125 crore will be allocated under the Kasargod package and KIIFB will provide Rs 300 crore for Wayanad Medical College.
Projects worth Rs 2,400 crore have been reserved for Kuttanad. Aiming to protect the environment, KFC will provide loans at 7 percent to buy e-vehicles and charging stations for these vehicles will be established.
The land acquisition for the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasargode semi high Speed corridor, also known as Silver Line Project, will begin in 2021-22. Also, Petta-Thripunithura stretch of the Kochi Metro rail will be completed by 2022. With KIIFB support, major road works to be undertaken in 2021-22, which includes Alappuzha - Changanassery semi elevated road, Wayanad tunnel road, 36 rail over bridges, city road improvement programme, hill highway, new stretches of NH-66.
Moreover, the pensions of journalists and non-journalists to be increased by Rs 1,000 and women journalists to get residential facility in Thiruvananthapuram.
Across the state, rural art hubs to be established. Aiming to encourage women film makers, Rs 3 crore is allocated for women filmmakers and Rs 2 crore for tribal filmmakers. An increase of Rs 1,000 for ASHA workers is also included.
Soon ambulance service for pets will be implemented. In schools, psycho-social counsellors to get an honorarium of Rs 24,000. For the first 48 hours, accident victims will get free treatment. Wayanad Coffee Brand to be launched soon. These are some of the major highlights from Kerala Budget 2021.