CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala today presented its budget for 2016-17, focusing on strengthening social welfare schemes, public health and education.
The budget, the first by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government which came to power in the May assembly polls, also proposed a slew of new tax proposals including five per cent tax on certain packed foods and a 'fat tax' of 14.5 per cent for burgers, pizzas and pastas served in branded restaurants.
Stating that the state was passing through a severe financial crisis due to various factors, the budget proposed an 'anti-slowdown package' of Rs 12,000 crore for taking up various development and infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and IT parks.
The budget, presented by state finance minister T M Thomas Isaac, also said steps would be taken to increase the tax revenue by 25 per cent per annum by various measures including elimination of corruption and implementation of trader-friendly measures.
Steps would be taken to attract Rs one lakh crore investment in various sectors in the next five years, he said.
The government is committed to continue various welfare measures for the downtrodden, Isaac said, adding that the budget increased the amount of all welfare pensions to Rs 1,000 and an amount of Rs 1,000 crore has been earmarked for this purpose.
"This enhanced pension from June will be distributed to the beneficiaries along with one month advance," he said.
In his three-hour-long speech, the state finance minister said the public distribution system would be expanded by including families of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme workers under free ration scheme, now limited to BPL families.
Other budget highlights:
Social welfare pensions to be made Rs 1,000 per month
Transgenders above 60 years of age will receive pension
Free uniforms for students in govt-aided schools from class 1 to 8
Create law for migrant labourers
Freeze new posts and no new appointments in government for two years.
Rs 1000cr- a school of international standard in every constituency
Tribal women will be appointed in 241 schools of Wayanad
Model residential school- 100 crore
Rs10cr for Endosulfan victims
Memorial for Kalabhavan Mani
Rs 26 crore for Suchitwa mission
Solar panels in all govt offices
Rs 5,000 cr for various infrastructure projects
Basic development - 20000 crore package, Roads bridges come under this package
Rs 200 crore for kudumbasree
Rs 60 crore for start ups
Indoor stadiums in all districts
Rubber price management - 500 crore.
Rs 5 crore to help cattle farmers in debt
Fisher men welfare - 50 crore
Sea bund construction 300 crore
(With IANS/ PTI Inputs)