Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Friday announced Rs 20,000 crore second COVID package in the revised budget for 2021-22 presented in the Legislative Assembly.
Presenting the maiden budget of the second Pinarayi Vijayan Government, the Minister said the package includes Rs 2,800 crore for dealing with emergency situation in health sector, Rs 8,900 crore for disbursing money directly to those who lost their livelihood and Rs 8,300 crore for providing interest subsidy for loans given for economic rejuvenation.
An amount of Rs 1,000 crore was earmarked in the budget for ensuring free vaccination to those above 18 years of age. Another Rs 500 crore has been earmarked for the purchase of equipment relating to vaccination.
The Finance Minister said an Oxygen plant with a capacity of 150 metric tonnes will be set up in the state.
The budget proposes a special block in every Medical College Hospital to deal with epidemics. Rs 50 crore was allocated to set up isolation blocks in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Medical Colleges this year.
It also proposes enhancing bed strength of pediatric ICUs in Government hospitals, isolation wards for contagious diseases at all community health centres, taluk, district and general hospitals.
The budget also proposes separate blocks in medical college hospitals for combating contagious diseases like Covid-19 and Nipah virus.
In the budget, Rs 50 lakh was allocated to set up a centre of excellence on the lines of Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Kerala.
An amount of Rs 5 crore has been allocated for the rehabilitation of the families of COVID victims, that includes free education to children who lost their parents due to COVID pandemic and Rs 3 lakh financial aid to the families of the victims.
Announcing a scheme to reduce extreme poverty, Mr Balagopal said there is no new tax proposals in the budget.
Kudumbashree, the state’s women empowerment mission, will have an allocation of Rs 100 crore for the livelihood package. Another Rs 10 crore was earmarked for starting value-added production units.
The budget earmarked Rs two crore each for erecting statues of former Ministers KR Gouri Amma and R Balakrishna Pillai.
The budget proposes Rs 1,500 crore for first-phase conservation of fragile coastal areas in the state and Rs 50 crore, with an estimated expenditure of Rs 500, has been allocated for the revival and cleaning of water resources with the support of local self governments.
The budget also proposed conversion of 3,000 diesel buses of KSRTC to CNG aiming to reduce the corporation’s operational loses and carbon footprint.