Kerala Budget 2020: Rs 3,809 crore for women's welfare programmes; Rs 6,000 crore projects for Kochi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac allocated Rs 3,809 crore for various women's welfare programmes in the 2020-21 State Budget on Friday. The amount is 18.4 per cent of the total outlay, a marked increase from the previous budgets. A majority of the funds will be utilised for strengthening Kudumbashree units, setting up 'She Lodges' (lodges for women) and constructing women toilets, among other things.

The budget has given a major thrust for the development of Kochi with an allocation of Rs 6,000 crore for various infrastructure funds. This includes extension of Kochi Metro train services to Tripunithura.

Making a scathing attack on the Central government, Issac on Friday said the BJP-led NDA government was "strangulating" the southern state by denying funds.

He alleged that the centre has been "helping" corporates rather that the common man.

"The Centre has been strangulating Kerala by denying funds for the state and has been moving on a self-destructive path by corporate-friendly policies and privatisation. The GST implementation has not been beneficial for the state," he said.

In the budget, Issac set aside Rs 1,000 crore for coastal area development, Rs 1,500 crore for the public works department, Rs 1,000 crore has been allotted for village road projects and Rs 4,383 crore for drinking water projects in the state.

"The government proposes 2.5 lakh water connections in the upcoming financial year. We will also construct one lakh houses under Life Mission," the finance minister said.

The budget has allocated Rs 90 crore for NRK Welfare Fund and the government proposes power projects with a capacity of 500 MW.

"The government proposes Kochi development plan with a fund of Rs 6,000 crore. The city will get an unified travel card and Metro project will be extended," Issac said.

The state government has increased all welfare pension funds by Rs 100, allotted Rs 40 crore to paddy farmers and Rs 10 crore for startups in the state.

The local self-governments have been allotted Rs five crore for waste management, Rs 20 crore has been set apart for 1,000 food stalls under hunger-free Kerala, where meals will be made available at Rs 25.

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