Kerala earmarks Rs 3,000 cr to revive agriculture

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], April 29 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that his government is planning to spend Rs 3,000 crore during the next one year to boost food production and revive agriculture in the state.

Chief Minister Vijayan during the press conference here said: "Out of this, Rs 1,500 crore will be raised from the plan allocation of LSG bodies and various departments and the remaining Rs 1,500 crore will be provided as loans from the NABARD and the co-operative sector."

He said the Agriculture Department has come up with a massive programme to use the fallow land for farming from next month. "The aim of the Agriculture Department is to revitalise agriculture, increase the revenue of farmers, attract youths to farming, and also as a rehabilitation project for expatriates who have lost their jobs," he said.

The Chief Minister said that if the owner of the land wants to cultivate the land, the government will support the owner.

As per the Agriculture Department, there is 1.09 lakh hectare of wasteland in the state. It is estimated that 1.4 lakh hectare can be used for intercropping.

Regarding the new ordinance that the Cabinet approved, he said: "In the wake of the financial crisis created by the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, Kerala government has decided to defer the payment of six days' salary of government employees for the next five months but the Kerala High Court had stayed the order."

"In that context, the Cabinet meeting held today has decided to recommend to the Governor to promulgate an ordinance to give legal effect to the government's decision," he said.

Giving details, the Chief Minister said: "Kerala Disaster and Public Health Emergency (Special Provisions) Ordinance 2020 will empower the State government to defer the salary of an employee by an amount not exceeding one-fourth of the total monthly payment for managing a situation arising out of a disaster or public health emergency. There is a provision to give back the deferred payment to the employee."

The Chief Minister also informed that it has been decided to recommend to the Governor to issue an ordinance to effect a 30 per cent cut in the monthly gross salary or honorarium of all elected representatives in the State -- ministers, MLAs, members of different Boards under the Government and members of Local Self-Government bodies, for a period of one year. There would be a 30 per cent deduction in the MLA's monthly amenity fund, too. (ANI)