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Kerala State budget 2017-18: Rs. 25,000 crore for public investment

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Presenting his 2017-18 budget in the ‘difficult post-demonetisation days’, Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has announced that public infrastructure development projects having a combined outlay of Rs. 25,000 crore would be taken up in the State during the coming financial year.

The projects would be implemented through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), which had already taken up projects with an outlay of Rs. 4,004 crore. The KIIFB board, scheduled to meet on March 24, would clear additional projects having a total outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore. This will be followed up with more projects, Dr. Isaac said.

Terming his task onerous considering the ‘debilitating impact’ of demonetisation, Dr. Isaac said the government proposed to go in for massive investment in public infrastructure, health and education besides areas such as enhancement of the State’s green cover. As many as 3 crore saplings would be planted over the coming year. As many as 5,257 new posts of health professionals will be created. Of this one-third will be posted during the coming year and the remaining during the following year. The government would earmark Rs. 1,000 crore for improving the facilities at taluk hospitals and to provide drugs free of cost to indigent persons with life style diseases.

The government would also go in for a people’s movement to turn 45,000 school class rooms into hi-tech learning centres. Around Rs. 500 crore would be mobilised from voluntary contributions for this purpose. Four schemes would be implemented for lifting the standards of government schools under a master plan. The government would get KIIFB to invest Rs. 500 crore for enhancing the facilities of all government schools with more than 1,000 students. Over 2,500 teachers’ posts would be created in schools. This too would be done in two stages as in the case of the school sector, he said.

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