Skip to main content
xYOU DESERVE INDEPENDENT, CRITICAL MEDIA. We want readers like you. Support independent critical media.

Kerala Budget 2021: Laptops for All, Focus on Employment and Higher Education

Newsclick Team |
Finance Minister Thomas Isaac presented the final budget of this term of the LDF government with a focus on employment, higher education and welfare schemes.
Kerala Budget 2021: Live Updates by

Kerala’s finance minister Dr. Thomas Isaac presented the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government’s final budget for this term on Friday, 15 January 2021. The budget speech was considered especially crucial considering the need to counter the economic impact of the pandemic. It was also significant considering the upcoming elections in the State this year.

The Finance Minister emphasised the goal of transforming Kerala into a knowledge-based society, "with strides in modern employment opportunities and industrial growth while consolidating [the state's] achievements in the social sector." Employment was a key focus area throughout his speech with targeted schemes for various sections of the populations. Among the major announcements were ensuring laptops for all families, a Rs.100-increase in social welfare pensions, more jobs in the education section and more institutions and a Rs. 1000-increase in the allowance given to ASHA workers. 

At a time when the issue of the Minimum Support Price has become a key site of struggle, the minister announced that Kerala will provide the highest MSP in the country for paddy farmers at Rs. 28/kg. Kerala, which is also the only State into the country to offer an MSP for vegetables, is looking at self-sufficiency in vegetable production too in 2-3 years.

The minister also announced that an additional 10 kg of rice will be provided at Rs. 15 to 50 lakh families which have blue and white ration cards. 

A key highlight of Dr. Thomas Isaac’s speech was the success of the public sector in Kerala. PSUs and the public health and education sectors have seen major revivals over the past five years, according to the minister. 

According to the Minister, the total receipts for 2021-22 are estimated to be Rs. 1,59,427.24 crore. The total budgeted expenditure for 2021-22 is Rs. 1,59,427.21 crore. Revenue deficit is estimated to be 1.93%, and fiscal deficit is estimated to be 3.5%.

The Economic Review that was released on Thursday highlighted the extent of challenges, especially the cumulative impact of a series of disasters including Cyclone Ockhi, two rounds of flooding in 2018 and 2019, and the Nipah and Coronavirus infections.

Just as in the case of the Indian economy, the economic slowdown affected Kerala as well. The state's economic growth rate in 2019-20 was lower compared to 2018-19, which adversely impacted tax revenues as well. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant a further contraction in economic activity across the world, and Kerala has been no exception. Hence the final revenue receipts in 2020-21 would be lower than last year's budget estimates.

But the Kerala Budget 2021-22 projects that revenue receipts would grow significantly in the coming year as the world, the country and the state recovers from the pandemic crisis, enabling a significant rise in the state's expenditure such as those on capital investments and welfare spending.

The Economic Review review noted that “the average rate of growth for the years 2016-17 to 2019-20 (5.4 per cent) was higher than the average rate of growth for the previous four years, 2012-13 to 2015-16 (4.8 per cent).”

At over three hours, the budget speech was the longest in Kerala’s history. The budget speech was punctuated with poems written by students from across the State that illustrated the points the minister was making.

Live blog

Kerala Finance Minister Dr. TM Thomas Isaac has reached

Kerala Finance Minister Dr. TM Thomas Isaac has reached the Kerala Legislative Assembly to present the Kerala Budget.

Finance minister starts the budget with a poem

The Finance Minister rises to present the budget. As usual, he starts with a poem.

Each challenge is an opportunity

Kerala's fight against COVID-19 won the world's praise. Case fatality rate is among the lowest in India. All the fighters against COVID-19 deserve praise. Each challenge is an opportunity, he says.

Kerala's fight against COVID-19

He recounts what the government has done to fight COVID-19. Free treatment to all COVID-19 patients, fresh staff appointments, creation of public healthcare infrastructure.

Social Welfare Pensions increased, again!

All social welfare pensions to be increased to Rs. 1600 per month, to be in effect from April onwards.

Promised 50,000 jobs, delivered 100,000

More than 1 lakh jobs have been created, in place of the promised 50,000, he says.

Strongest anti-slowdown infrastructure spending in India

Kerala has the strongest anti-slowdown infrastructure spending in India, he says. This is being done using funding from Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board.

Central Govtcentral government’s wrong policy led to deep recession

The central government did not even increase public health spending in India. The result is that India has the deepest recession in the world. The central government’s wrong policy is the reason for this.

State governments forced to cut spending in the midst of recession

Even now, the central government has not given GST compensation in full to state governments, and has imposed harsh restrictions on borrowing. In the midst of a recession, state governments are forced to cut spending.

15th Finance Commission recommendations pose challenge to state

The approach of the 15th Finance Commission is going to be a challenge, especially if off-budget borrowing is going to be restricted.

Organised moves against KIIFB and treasury savings bank

There are organised moves against KIIFB and treasury savings bank. Kerala needs to stand united to fight these. We shall fight, overcome and move forward.

Farmer struggle historic - Kerala Finance Minister

Central government sees the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to impose even more neoliberal policies. Among these are the three farm bills. A historic movement is going on in Delhi against the bills by farmers.

Rubber, coconut, rice procurement prices increased again

From April 1, the MSP of rubber to be Rs. 170. Procurement price of paddy to be Rs. 28. Procurement price of coconut to be Rs. 32.

30% new welfare pension beneficiaries

As much as 30% of the beneficiaries of social welfare pensions are those who received the pensions for the first time during the tenure of this government.

Twice as many as new drinking water connections than last government

4.9 lakh drinking water connections were provided during previous UDF government. This government has provided 11.02 lakh drinking water connections so far.

Five new harbours completed

Five harbours completed under the present government, compared to just one in the previous government’s tenure.

Jobs for the educated

Unemployment of the educated is a serious challenge in Kerala, particularly among the women.

Support to work from/near home.

Scheme to create work stations for work near home. Loans to buy computers for those who have been employed by companies under work from home.

Support for job seekers

Skill development for job seekers. Database of job seekers to be made available for potential employers.

Rs. 200 Cr to K-DISC

Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council (K-DISC) to be allotted Rs. 200 crore.

Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.

Subscribe Newsclick On Telegram