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Kerala Budget 2022: From Knowledge Society to Knowledge Economy

The budget gave a special focus for boosting the knowledge economy, envisaging four science parks, four IT corridors along the south-north national highway, 20 micro-IT parks and skill parks in every district for young entrepreneurs to start ventures.
Kerala Budget 2022: From Knowledge Society to Knowledge Economy

Image Courtesy: PTI

The first complete budget of the second consecutive LDF government in Kerala was presented by Finance Minister KN Balagopal in the assembly on Friday. The budget for the financial year 2022-23 emphasises the transformation of Kerala from a knowledge society to a knowledge economy.

The budget gave a special focus for boosting the knowledge economy, envisaging four science parks, four IT corridors along the south-north national highway, 20 micro-IT parks and skill parks in every district for young entrepreneurs to start ventures. A medical technology innovation centre, a Kerala genomic data centre for health care and work-near-home projects for IT professionals and educated homemakers have also been proposed in the budget 2022-23. A total allocation of Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated for these schemes.

In the budget, the start-up mission gets Rs 90 crore; Rs 28 crore for an electronic hub; Rs 350 crore allocated for skill parks to be set up in all districts; Rs 127 crore outlay for Kerala State IT Mission and Rs 26 crore announced for digital university.

Also, Rs 250 crore has been announced for developing the facilities at the medical colleges in the state; Rs 100 crore for medical innovation lab; Rs 15 crore for graphene research; Rs 5 crore for establishing a centre of excellence in microbiology research; Rs 50 crore announced for Institute of Virology and Rs 50 crore for Institute of Advanced Virology, Thiruvananthapuram to develop monoclonal antibodies and other anti-viral products.

Translational research centres will be developed on university campuses in the higher education sector. Start-ups and incubation centres will be part of these centres. Along with these, modern courses will be designed and conducted with the assistance of existing departments.

The finance minister has also stressed that mini-industrial units with modern technical facilities and start-ups can be set up adjacent to engineering colleges, polytechnics, ITIs and arts and science colleges.

“Through this, along with their studies, students can participate in the economic and production process, acquire training, and make earnings. Educated people, including former students, can be associated with these enterprises. Many educational institutions across the globe have similar employment-entrepreneurship centres. A pilot project is announced to start such centres in all 14 districts of Kerala,” said Balagopal. The finance minister declared Rs 10 crore to NORKA for ensuring the graduation of the students who returned from Ukraine following the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The budget also allocated a fair share to other infrastructure development, particularly for transportation, of which a Rs 2,000 crore to acquire land for the K-rail project is the major one. Rs 1,000 crore was allotted from KIIFB for outer ring road in Thiruvananthapuram; Rs 1,500 crore announced for TVM-Angamali MC road and Kollam-Chengota Road; a 50 crore was announced for rubberised roads; and Rs 200 crore for developing selected 20 traffic junctions in the state.

The budget has set aside Rs 1,000 crore for KSRTC and Rs 150 crore for Kochi water metro project. Rs 4.5 crore was allotted for Idukki and Wayanad airstrips. The finance minister announced 50% of the ferry boats in the state to be converted to solar power under a project to cut carbon emissions in the context of global climate change. Rs 15,000 subsidy was announced to convert fossil fuel-powered autos to electric.

The industries sector was allocated with Rs 1,226 crore, including Rs 10 crore for multilevel industrial estates; Rs 20 crore to promote private industrial parks; and Rs 113 crore for Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). The budget also allotted Rs 117 crore for the coir sector and Rs 16 crore for the Khadi sector.

The budget also allotted Rs 100 crore for the first phase of extreme-poverty eradication to support 64000 families. Rs 735 crore was set aside for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. The budget also allocated Rs 5 crore to the Rainbow welfare scheme for the transgender people in the state.

Rs 851 crore was set aside to boost the agriculture sector. Rs 76 crore was announced for paddy support schemes, raising the MSP to Rs 28.20 per kg.

Rs 500 crore was allotted for rubber subsidy and Rs 73 crore for coconut promotion. The budget also allocated Rs 100 crore for micro-irrigation projects. Seven Agri-Tech centres are to be set up in the state at the cost of Rs175 crore, and the government would spend Rs 20 crore for a PPP model agriculture marketing company.

The budget allotted - Rs 260 crore for Kudumbashree, Rs 33 crore for Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA). Two hundred twelve crore days of work would be created in the state under the MGNREGA scheme this year, the FM said in his speech. Rs 100 crore was allotted for coastal protection and Rs 10 crore for setting up cold chain centres in the fisheries sector. The second Kuttanad package also received an allocation of Rs 140 crore.

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