Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac (pictured above) presented the state’s Budget on Friday, in a speech that exceeded two hours.
During his Budget speech, Isaac took on the Centre over the Goods and Services Tax and compared demonetisation to Cyclone Ockhi, which had claimed at least 77 lives in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “One was a man-made disaster, the other a natural disaster,” he said, according to The Indian Express. The Centre has failed to transfer the share from GST revenue to the states, Isaac said, according to News18. “The benefit of GST was passed on to big corporations and not the consumers,” he added.
Among the major announcements was the allocation of Rs 2,000 crore for coastal area development, which include funds for rehabilitation of areas hit by Cyclone Ockhi in 2017. The Budget focused on social security schemes, with the state allotting Rs 20 crore for a project to tackle hunger in urban and rural areas.
In his health announcements, Isaac said money will be spent to equip medical colleges with more doctors and nurses. The state plans to allot Rs 1,685 crore for public health services and also launch an ambulance service on the lines of the popular ride-hailing application Uber. The state has set aside Rs 20 crore to set up a factory to manufacture cancer medicines, according to The Times of India.
Kerala plans to revive its road transport corporation, and has sanctioned a Rs 3,500 crore loan sanctioned for it. The tourism sector also got a boost of Rs 80 crore.