Kochi: Several budgetary proposals, especially regarding industries and the IT sector, announced by Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Friday are unlikely to come to fruition. Scant financial allocation was made for these proposals and their scope for attracting investment and creating jobs is bleak. These measures were, in fact, declared earlier, and remained on paper and they are unlikely to be implemented in the future as well.
Here are some of these unfeasible proposals:
'Work Near Home'
The last budget set apart Rs 50 crore for the 'Work Near Home' Project for techies in the IT sector. But nothing happened! This project was implemented years ago and turned out to be a damp squib. In small towns, IT plug-and-play office facilities including power and WiFi connections were earlier introduced. Some DTP companies arrived to make use of the facilities, but no IT company turned up. Only the funds of the respective panchayats and the IT Department were wasted.
Moreover, the 'Work Near Home 'project promises jobs for one lakh people in three years. A sum of Rs 50 crore also was set apart for it.
It was in the budget during the tenure of the VS Achuthanandan Government that the plan to spread the IT industry beyond parks to across the length and breadth of the state was announced. The aim was to introduce software technology parks in each panchayat. However, funds were wasted by introducing certain facilities, including the internet connections, in certain panchayats.
Even the much-talked-about Technopark, which was established in 1990, has given jobs to only 70,000 people so far. Years ago, when Technopark was established in Kollam, it failed to attract anysignificant investment.
'Work From Holiday Home'
Another Rs 10 crore has been set apart for introducing the project 'Work From Holiday Home' at tourist centres. There is no clarity as to how to spend the fund. It is not clear whether common amenities are provided at tourism centers as part of it or funds are provided as subsidies to homestays.
New IT Park
Last year a new IT park was declared in Kannur, but this too didn’t materialize. There are reports that the work on the park will start this year.
Another budgetary promise is to set up green hydrogen hubs in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. The latest hydrogen technology is yet to reach India. As such, the state government has no idea how it will avail the technology and implement the ambitious project. And the sum allocated for this in the budget is a meager Rs 20 crore.
'Make in Kerala'
The Government has set aside Rs 100 crore for the Rs 1,000-crore ‘Make in Kerala’ project. The move to indigenously produce consumer products in the state itself has been initiated on the basis of a study by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS). But no one know what all commodities would be produced. The Budget says the Government will find out the products that can be possibly produced here!