Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac has presented the 68th state budget in the Assembly. From free Internet, free medicines for diabetes, cholesterol, and hypertension to setting up pink control rooms for women’s safety in the state, we bring you some highlights on what the Kerala Finance Minister has announced today for the state:
1. All welfare pensions have been increased to Rs 1100. Those above 60 years and do not possess an acre of land will be eligible for social welfare pension.
2. Most government-related communication will go online to ensure transparency. About 20 lakh poor families in the state will be given free Internet. The K-phone project will facilitate internet access at all places and budgetary allocation has been provided for the same. With this initiative, Kerala will become the first state in the country to make internet connection a right for all citizens.
3. Rs 640 crore has been announced for the state’s midday meal scheme.
4. Rs 25 crore has been allotted for Sabarimala master plan.
5. Rs 2 crore has been allotted for Kochi-Muziris biennale, which President Pranab Mukherjee had praised yesterday as ‘a proud symbol of Kerala’s secular approach towards art and culture…’ He had further stated that such inclusivity makes it a case study that teaches other states to adopt and embrace it as a harmonious model.
6. Water taxis will be soon introduced on the Alapuzha-Ernakulam route, with 38 boat jetties to be linked with the Kochi Metro and a special passenger tourist service to begin from Ashtamudi.
7. A marine ambulance service will be introduced.
8. 170 primary health centres will be converted into family hospitals and will be equipped with 1350 doctors and 1110 nurses. Also, 45 new posts for doctors to be made available in the state’s medical colleges.
9. Free medicines for those suffering from diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension have been announced in this Budget.
10. With a special focus on strengthening women’s safety and security in the state, Rs. 12 crore has been allotted for setting up pink control rooms. This initiative also aims to train women in self-defence. Also, Rs 34 crore has been set up to improve women’s safety and security in the state.