Emphasis on welfare measures; provides for additional expenditure of ₹1,164 crore
Creating “a new edition to the Kerala development model,” the 2021-2022 Budget presented by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on Friday aims at a knowledge-based society with strides in new employment opportunities and industrial growth while consolidating the achievements made in the social sector.
The Budget, which focuses on welfare measures, provides for additional expenditure of ₹1,164 crore and tax concessions of ₹191 crore against additional revenue mobilisation of just ₹200 crore, leaving a cumulative deficit of ₹1,306.69 crore.
In recognition of their role in COVID-19 management, ASHA workers’ allowance would be hiked by ₹1,000. All welfare pensions had been enhanced to ₹1,600, 4,000 new posts would be created in the Health Department and local bodies will get an additional ₹1,000 crore. As part of the biggest anti-recession infrastructure package being executed, projects worth ₹15,000 crore will be completed through Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) in 2021-2022.
Describing the Budget as a blue print of the post-COVID development priorities and initiatives of Kerala, Dr. Isaac said 8,00,000 jobs — three lakh employment for the youth and five lakh for others — would be created in 2021-22.
To address the mounting unemployment in the State, Dr. Isaac has come up with a scheme to provide employment to at least 20 lakh through digital platform in five years, the registration of which will begin from February.
The government employees, teachers and pensioners would get new salary and pension from April 1, 2021, Dr. Isaac announced.
In a boost to the real estate sector, the stamp duty on sale deed has been reduced from 8% to 4% and the registration fee from 2% to 1%.
The Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC) would be registered as a society and ₹200 crore has been 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.
As many as 30 centres of excellence would be set up in universities. An outlay of ₹2,000 crore for universities and ₹1,000 crore for affiliated colleges was announced. Dr. Isaac announced 500 post-doctoral fellowships to attract young scientists to work in State universities.
The floor price of rubber was hiked to ₹170; paddy procurement price increased to ₹28 and that of coconut to ₹32. The Finance Minister announced steps to create 2,00,000 jobs in the agricultural sector.
The first phase of K-FON project would be completed in February. A massive campaign would be launched to make Kerala devoid of atrocities against women.
Tax concessions for environmental-friendly buildings, cut in Value Added Tax (VAT) on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from 14.5% to 5% and reduction of 50% in motor vehicle tax for newly registered electric vehicles for five years have been mooted.