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