Kerala Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac tabled the Kerala Budget 2019 in the Assembly aiming to rebuild the flood-hit state.

2,500 CRORE FOR AGRICULTURE SECTOR

To tackle the post-flood condition, Rs. 2,500 crore will be spent on the agricultural sector. This amount will be made available from Plan outlay, Centrally Sponsored Schemes, from externally-aided projects and from the schemes of Local Government Institutions.

 

UNIVERSAL HEALTH SECURITY SCHEME

With a major outlay of Rs. 1,406 crore, the government has also announced a comprehensive Health Security Scheme. First 150 hospitals were upgraded to Family Health Centres. In the next stage, 200 more hospitals will be upgraded followed by Modernisation of hospitals. A comprehensive health insurance comprising interested private hospitals is the third stage.

 

BOOST TO KERALA’S PUBLIC EDUCATION SECTOR

An amount of Rs. 2,037.91 crore has been sanctioned from KIIFB and Rs. 170 crore is earmarked for the expansion of infrastructure facilities of schools that had not obtained financial aid from KIIFB. Rs 32 crore is for upgradation of academic excellence, Rs. 10 Crore for remedial education programme named ‘SRADHA’. With the cooperation of Artists who are in receipt of Diamond Year Fellowship, Art Centres will be opened in selected schools in all districts.

HOUSING FOR ALL

Out of the 54,036 incomplete houses aimed for completion in the first 40 phase activities of Life Mission- which is trying to transform Kerala into a state with housing for all, 93% have been achieved.  A total of 1,84,255 beneficiaries, who own land but are homeless, are enlisted for housing assistance in the second phase of Life Mission. Housing construction of 79,159 beneficiaries in Grama Panchayats is in various stages of completion. All of these will be completed by the middle of March. A total of Rs. 1,296 crore is earmarked for housing complexes for landless and homeless people, which is the third phase of Life Mission.

PUBLIC SECTOR UNDERTAKINGS AND KSRTC

Out of Rs. 527 crore provided for large and medium scale industries in 2019-20, Rs. 299 crore is set apart for public sector. A total of Rs. 1,000 crore will be made available as Government assistance for restructuring KSRTC in 2019-20. To create a model, KSRTC will switch over to electric buses.

NEW KUTTANAD PACKAGE

The second phase of Kuttanadu package worth Rs. 1,000 crore has been announced with focus on one time cleaning of backwaters and other water sources.

KERALA BANK

The idea is to merge the three-tier cooperative bank network in Kerala into a single large cooperative bank. Once it materialises, Kerala bank will be the largest banking network in the state with more than 800 branches and would also become the first ever scheduled bank in the cooperative sector of India.

PLACEMENT FOR 10,000 MEMBERS FROM SCHEDULED COMMUNITIES

Except Kerala, no other Indian State, at present, provides Development Fund to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population. In Kerala, however, 9.81% of plan fund for Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and 2.83% of plan fund for Tribal Sub Plan are earmarked in the budget.

A programme for providing employment in modern industrial and service sectors within and outside the nation through customised skill development to 10,000 members belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe communities, is also being implemented under the aegis of CREST and IIM Kozhikode. Such a scheme will be formulated for fishermen also.

 

INDUSTRIAL PARKS AND CORPORATE INVESTMENTS AND STARTUPS

 

Placing the industrial parks and corporate investment in the New Kerala project as a key, a total of 15,600 Crore has been allotted for industrial parks.

Considering all these facts, the Kerala Budget 2019 has allocated Rs 1,420 crore for women empowerment. The total outlay for schemes that meant entirely for women was only 4% of the total plan provision in 2016-17. However, this time, the plan outlay is enhanced to 6.1%.

When the special component for women in general development schemes is also taken into account, the total women share will be 16.85%. During 2017-18, it was only 11.5%.

Apart from these, sustainable employment opportunities for 25,000 women getting an income of rupees 400 – 600 will be created by the aforesaid livelihood intervention during 2019-20. A bank loan worth Rs. 3,500 crore with an interest rate of 4.0% will be made available to 65,000 neighbourhood groups in 2019-20.

Rs. 285 crore was earmarked for Kudumbashree and Rs. 400 crore will be made available from Local Government Institutions. Apart from this, an amount of Rs. 315 Crore is available from various Centrally Sponsored Schemes. A rehabilitation scheme of Rs. 20 crore will be formulated for women groups, who are debt ridden due to loan taken for animal husbandry and small-scale industries.

Welfare Pensions

The anticipated expenditure during 2018-19 is Rs.7,533.72 crore. The central assistance received last financial year is only Rs.150 crore.

Rehabilitation and Restoration of Coasts

A package amounting to Rs. 2,000 crore had been earmarked in the Budget of last year for the comprehensive development of the fisherfolk community. This will be expanded into a comprehensive programme in “Rebuild Kerala”. In 2019-20, over Rs. 1,000 crore will be spent on the development works in the coastal areas.

In conclusion, the total expenditure of the Government has increased to 13.88 percent in relation to 2018-19, the minister stated, “The vision of this government behind this decision is that the government expenditure needs to be increased to prevent the economy from falling into recession in the context of income from gulf countries decreasing.”

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