21 Feb 2009,
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala will help Malayalees returning from the Gulf due to recession with a Rs 100-crore package for starting business ventures.
The package was announced in the budget 2009-10 by finance minister T M Thomas Issac on Friday. The government said it would pump in Rs 10,000 crore to tide over the economic slowdown. Below poverty line families will get rice at Rs 2 per kg.
The state-owned Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC) will handle the package for Gulf returnees, Issac told the assembly.
The government has also decided to register those coming back from the Gulf as part of its plan. There is also an amount of Rs 10 crore for immediate relief. In another benefit, the government, Issac assured, would also take steps to ensure school admission for the children of these returnees.
With its eye on the Lok Sabha polls, the Left government steered clear of imposing any new levies in the budget.
The stimulus package has allocations for infrastructure development, including roads and bridges, coastal highway, hill highway, irrigation, housing and airports. The amount will be spent over two years, the minister said.
Issac said the government would waive loans up to Rs 25,000 taken by Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and converted Christians.
He also announced that Rs 250 crore would be earmarked as food subsidy to ensure supply of essential commodities at reasonable prices.
The budget aims to mobilise an additional Rs 574.29 crore by tapping non-tax revenue. It shows deficit of Rs 934 crore and estimates total revenue at Rs 28,153.90 crore and a revenue deficit of Rs 3,007.95 crore.
While Issac termed the budget an indication of change, the opposition dubbed it an eye-wash.