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Kerala Chief Minister presents budget amid protests by Opp


Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today presented the 201617 budget in the state Assembly amidst protests and boycott by opposition CPI(M)led LDF demanding his resignation over solar and bar bribery scams.

It was after a 29year gap that the Kerala Assembly saw
a Chief Minister presenting the state budget. Chandy is the
fourth Chief Minister of the state to present the budget.

Chandy, who took over the Finance portfolio after former
Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani quit
in November 2015 after an adverse remark by High Court on the
bar bribery case, presented the budget even as the opposition
raised slogans demanding his resignation.

The LDF members holding banners and placards raised
slogans for a while even as an unfazed Chief Minister
continued with the budget presentation.

After sloganeering, the LDF members marched out of the
House and boycotted the budget presentation.

Chandy in his budget speech highlighted the various
achievements, including the Kochi Metro, Kannur airport
projects, during his fiveyear rule.

The House had witnessed unprecedented violence on March
13, 2015 when LDF disrupted the budget presentation by Mani,
demanding his resignation.

The budget proposed relief for a large number of
elderly population in the state, hiking the old age monthly
pension to Rs 1,500 from Rs 1,000 and planning an insurance
scheme for pensioners.

Chandy hit out at the opposition LDF for levelling
corruption charges and protests, saying "time will not forgive
those who stand against development, indulge in character
assassination and create tensions in society".

In a bid to woo the weaker sections, the Chief
Minister announced that all BPL families who are getting rice
at Re 1 per kg through ration shops, would henceforth get it
free of cost and that Rs 55 crore has been earmarked for the
same.

Chandy reached out to rubber farmers who are facing
severe crisis due to falling prices. He allocated Rs 500 crore
to ensure they get Rs 150 per kg under the price stabilisation
scheme.

To implement poverty alleviation programme, an amount
of Rs 257.89 crore has been allocated.

Chandy also said the government would draw up the
Kerala Infrastructure Development Fund to mobilise capital
investment of Rs 30,000 crore to meet the state's basic
infrastructure needs under the 'State Perspective Plan 2030'.

The budget also earmarked Rs 2,500 crore for the
government's flagship Kochi Metro and Vizinjam Port projects.

A total of Rs 4,057.4 crore has been allocated for
rural development and Rs 2,500 crore for PPP projects to
improve basic infrastructure facilities in the next fiscal.

Announcing certain tax exemptions, Chandy said that
food products manufactured by inmates of state prisons,
cleaning liquid used to wash vegetables and canes used by
visually challenged have been excluded from the purview of
tax.

The budget also allocated Rs 100 crore for a new dam
at Mullaperiyar.

Attacking the government and Chandy, opposition leader
V S Achuthanandan told reporters outside the assembly that the
budget had been "leaked" before it was tabled in the House.

The LDF opposition have been on an agitational path,
demanding resignation of Chandy and some of his cabinet
colleagues after charges of bribery were levelled in the solar
and bar scams.

The House had witnessed unprecedented violence on
March 13, 2015 when LDF disrupted the budget presentation by
Mani, demanding his resignation.


 

 


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