Keralaā€™s much popular and lauded free food kit distribution to 88 lakh families across the state will continue for next four months, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced on Thursday. The Kerala government had started to distribute free food kits, consisting of upto 17 essential ingredients in April, as a welfare measure to aid people when the state went into a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the past nine months, each family in the state, including both below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) ration card holders, had been receiving the same.
The scheme was welcomed by people and had been projected during the campaign of the recently concluded local body polls, where Left Democratic Front (LDF) won. On Thursday, the CM also announced that Rs 10,000 crore worth development projects would either be completed or launched in the next 100 days in the state. Notably, the welfare pensions have also been raised from Rs 1,400 to Rs 1,500.
Making the announcements, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Left government could "successfully complete" 570 of the total 600 poll promises mentioned in the LDF's election manifesto besides hundreds of other projects not part of it, since 2016.
He claimed the 100-days-programme, announced by his government in September last, was "a huge success" and hence it was planning to implement its second phase. "In the next 100 days, the government will either complete or begin development projects worth Rs 10,000 crore in the state. Of this, a total of 5,526 projects, to the tune of Rs 5700 crore, will be completed or inaugurated and 646 projects worth Rs 4,300 crore will be launched," Pinarayi Vijayan said.
In the second phase, the government was targeting to create 50,000 job openings, including through poverty eradication mission, Kudumbashree, he said. Nine new industrial units, including the Defence Park in Palakkad, would be inaugurated in January.
"From January 1, 2021, welfare pensions would be raised to Rs 1,500, increasing them by Rs 100 each as a new year gift,ā€¯ he said. The CM said that more job openings would be ensured in the IT sector and the government would create eight lakh working days through the employment guarantee scheme.
Twenty seven new tourism projects, worth Rs 310 crore, construction of 30,000 new houses under LIFE Mission, opening of 30 new school buildings, 49 new family health centres, 153 new kudumbashree budget hotels were among the several projects announced by Vijayan.
The inauguration of the first phase of the Kerala Fiber Optic Network (KFON) project, envisaged to provide free internet, would be held next February. This would help in taking the benefits of the project to below poverty line (BPL) families and 30,000 government offices within a few months, the Chief Minister added.
(With PTI inputs)