Kerala FM slams Centre over farm laws, hikes MSP for rubber, paddy in budget

ANI
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Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac during his budget speech in the Assembly. (Photo/ANI)
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac during his budget speech in the Assembly. (Photo/ANI)

Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], January 15 (ANI): Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac began the presentation of the budget by criticising the Centre over farm laws, stating that the Centre is pursuing "neo-liberal policies and is helping corporates in the name of reforms".

Presenting the final budget of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) ahead of the upcoming assembly polls, Isaac hiked Minimum Support Price (MSP) for rubber to Rs 170, paddy to Rs 28 and coconut to Rs 31, which is other than the MSP declared earlier for 16 crops that include vegetables and fruits.

The Minister started his speech with a poem written by Class 7 student -- Sneha from Palakkad on combating COVID-19 situation.

Starting with welfare schemes, Isaac announced a surge in the welfare pension to Rs 1,600 and promised 8 lakh new jobs. He also promised 20 lakh jobs creation in digital platforms within 5 years.

Despite the ongoing troubles with the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) related to the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board, the Minister announced additional projects worth Rs 15,000 crores to be launched by the board.

Giving a big push to the Information Technology and Education sector during the ongoing pandemic, he further announced Rs 150 crore for digitalising classrooms in affiliated colleges.

Asserting that all families in Kerala should have laptops, he said: "Marginalised sections will get laptops for half price. About 25 per cent subsidy for buying laptops under the below poverty line (BPL) category."

Isaac also said that K-FON will provide internet access to all houses, and the project will be completed by July and allotted Rs 40 crore for Kerala Innovation Challenge and another Rs 50 crore for start-up projects. (ANI)