Big day for Kerala as the state’s Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac presented the 68th state budget in the Assembly and began his addressing by stating that demonetisation has affected all sectors of life. The Finance Minister cited MT Vasudevan Nair’s quotes while addressing the budget session. Throughout his address,
This is the second Budget being presented by the ruling Left -led government and the first one following the announcement on demonetisation. Given the increasing reports of crimes against women and children in the state, a first-of-its-kind gender statement accompanied this year’s Budget. The objective is to highlight the benefits and allocation for women and what their share is from every initiative.
These are the top takeaways so far:
1. One lakh people to benefit from low-cost housing scheme.
2. About 2500 new teachers posts to be created; master plan for school development and 45,000 smart classrooms to be made ready.
3. Focus on community-based vegetable cultivation.
4. Rs 150 crore for water conservation and Rs 201 crore for soil and land conservation; Rs 350 crore for Karunya scheme.
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5. Rs 8,621 crore for local governance institutions
6. Rs 100 crore for clean crematoriums with focus on clean streets, planting 10 crore streets and 3 crore trees to be planted in a span of three years and Rs 50 crore allotted for scientific landfills.
7. Over 5,000 medical posts including that of doctors to be created.
8. Medicines for the treatment of diabetes, blood pressure and cholestrol to be given free at primary health centers.
9. Special health insurance for differently abled, the aged, BPL families and other vulnerable sections. Autism parks to be planned across all districts. Special focus on autistic children and their physiotherapy and behavioral therapy. Around Rs 250 crore has been allotted the welfare of differently abled people.
10. Rs 700 crore has been allotted for food storage.
11. Leakages in rationing system to be plugged and for this Rs 117 crore has been allotted. Rs 900 crore has been allotted for ration subsidy.
12. Rs 100 crore for Smart City mission. Thiruvananthapuram is expected to be included in the Smart City mission.
13. Rs 350 crore has been allotted for Anganwadi teachers’ honorarium.
14. A slew of announcements for the benefit of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Rs 2600 crore has been announced for SC welfare and Rs 750 crore for ST welfare.
15. Special education schemes for Adivasis, health insurance and various facilities for the well-being and education of girls who belong to Adivasi community.
16. Rs 4 crore has been allotted for the revival of Agraharams in the state.
17. Rs 10 crore for pepper and cardamom farming; Rs 500 crore to stabilise rubber base price.
18. Rs 97 crore has been allotted for dairy development and Rs 30 crore for primary milk society.
19. Schemes announced to boost coir industry and retirement benefits may be those working the industry. 100 coir mills planned to be set up. Coir mission factory will be established and minimum wages to be determined by the state to ensure that jobs are generated and coir products continue to be sold. Coir Mela, as part of Haritha Mela, will be hosted in Alapuzha and this initiative, if successful, will ensure 200 days of employment for coir workers.
20. Rs 500 crore to be allotted for in-land fish farming promotions and insurance for fishing equipment, small harbours and marine ambulances have been planned.
According to earlier reports, there were expectations around measures to be announced regarding tackling drought, boosting the state’s tourism sector, revival of the Kerala State Transport Corporation, sops to promote organic farming in the state and initiatives that boost the education and health sector among others. It was also expected that welfare pensions would go up.