Kerala’s annual plan fixed at Rs.80.6 billion


Thiruvananthapuram : The Kerala government Saturday fixed the state’s annual plan for the next fiscal at Rs.8,650 crore (Rs.80.65 billion).

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Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, who chaired the meeting of the Kerala State Planning Board (KSPB), said this was 12.34 percent higher than the Rs.7,700 crore(Rs.70.7 billion) of 2008-09.

“We have made appropriate provisions for the range of large projects which the state has launched and its thrust will be towards ameliorating the impact of the present economic crisis on the common man,” Achuthanandan told reporters.

KSPB vice chairman and eminent economist Prabath Patnaik said the present economic crisis will have its impact in the state too.

“To help withstand the crisis we have provided a substantial increase in outlays for the traditional industries like coir, handlooms and cashew and would range from technological upgradation to price support, exploration and creation of new markers to off set the shrinking export market,” said Patnaik.

Another feature of the proposed plan is that 12 percent of the outlay will be solely kept aside for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

They have also set aside Rs.20 crores (Rs.200 million) to set up a relief fund to provide price support to marginal farmers who have been badly affected by the falling prices of cash crops like coffee and spices.

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said the central government should immediately come to the rescue of the rubber farmers by hiking the re-planting subsidy from Rs.19,500 per hectare to Rs.40,000.

“Close to 30 percent of the rubber trees in the state have finished their life span. Farmers are not interested in spending money for re-planting. They (central government) should also see the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme be extended to the labour inputs for these rubber farmers who go in for re-planting,” said Isaac.