Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], May 28 (ANI): Highlighting the state's economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Friday said that State's Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) is expected to grow at 13.1 percent in the next five years.
While addressing the inaugural session of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly, the Governor said that the state government is committed to raise farmer's incomes by 50 per cent in the next five years.
"The last year was an extremely difficult one for the State's economy and the society. It is estimated that our GSDP would decline by about 3.82 per cent in 2020-21. We expected a sharp recovery in the economic growth to 6.60 per cent in 2021-22. But the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic can be an impediment to this expectation... I would like to point out that as per the estimates of the 15th Finance Commission, the State's GSDP is expected to grow at 13.1 per cent in the five-year period of 2021-26," the Governor said.
The Governor informed that payment of welfare pensions was made up-to-date benefitting 47.2 lakh beneficiaries, and Rs 150 crore was set aside for payment of one-time relief of Rs 1,000 per family for 14.7 lakh BPL households, which are not getting welfare pensions.
"Rs 100 crore was set aside for providing free food grains to families in need, while Rs 50 crore was set aside for the provision of the subsidised meal at Rs 20 through Janakeeya hotels," he stated.
Khan further informed that free kits containing essential articles at a monthly cost of Rs 400 crore was distributed to around 90 lakh families in the state.
"My government is of the view that the trauma of COVID-19 has affected people irrespective of their economic status. Hence, the decision to make this benefit not a targeted one, at least initially. Rs 1,000 crore was set aside for a comprehensive health package, focus of which was to improve public health infrastructure and to equip the state to face the pandemic," he informed.
He further said that loans worth Rs 2,000 crore were distributed through the Kudumbashree Mission to women Self Help Groups (SHGs), and Rs 2,000 crore was set aside for the expansion of the employment guarantee programme.
"Rs 14,000 crore was set aside to clear all the arrear payments by my government till April 2020, including pension, welfare assistance to informal sector workers, deferred bill payments of contractors, and scholarships for students," he said.
Talking about the state government's policy on agriculture, Khan said the production of vegetables in Kerala will be increased to attain self-sufficiency in vegetables during the next five years.
"My government is committed to raising farmer's incomes by 50 per cent in the next five years. Value addition will be strengthened for this purpose by agro-processing and marketing and establishing new small-scale food processing industries and agro parks," he added.
He said that the government is committed to making the promises made in the election manifesto a reality.
"My Government believes that pledges made to the people are to be redeemed continuously and are not ones merely to be reiterated at five-year intervals. My Government has begun its functioning by initiating steps to implement key promises made in the election manifesto. I state with satisfaction that my Government remains committed to the promises made to the people," the Governor said. (ANI)