The State has been able to grow at 9.51 per cent during 2011-12 against the national average of 6.3 per cent. This is the highest growth recorded by the State during last decade.

Retirement age for employees joining government service is proposed to be raised to 60 years for those joining in from April 1, 2013.

This formed part of the 2013-14 budget presented by Finance Minister K.M. Mani in the State Assembly here on Friday.

NPS FOLLOW-UP

This is as envisaged in the National Pension Scheme, and is a follow-up to the implementation of participatory pension. But there is no change in retirement age for serving employees.

The State has been able to grow at 9.51 per cent during 2011-12 against the national average of 6.3 per cent. This is the highest growth recorded by the State during last decade.

This is expected pick up further to 9.58 per cent during 2012-13. At this rate, the State would be able to register double-digit growth over the next four years.

Mani said his dream was to raise per capita income on a par with BRICS countries by year 2023.

FLAGSHIP PROGRAMMES

He proposed a series of flagship programmes aimed at designing of projects for execution without time overrun or cost escalation.

This seeks to fix accountability to nodal officers who will be responsible for monitoring them. A monitoring committee headed by chief secretary would monitor projects announced as part of the budget.

A series of schemes have been announced aimed at farmer welfare including write-off of loans contracted by small and marginal famers. Interest-free loans would be made available to them.

Individuals would be taken out of agricultural income tax net, the finance minister said.

MOBILITYHUBS

Other farmer-friendly initiatives include: model high-tech ‘green’ villages; intensive paddy procurement drive; agri malls in major cities; farmer producer organisations and farmer fairs; branded biotech products; and comprehensive crop insurance scheme.

An allocation of Rs 788.93 crore has been made for infrastructure. This will benefit preliminary work with respect to Kochi Metro; the high-speed rail corridor; monorail projects in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode; Kannur airport; and Vizhinjam international port and container terminal.

Mobility hubs based on the Vytttila model have been proposed for all districts with an allocation of Rs 846 crore.

The State would go for floating solar panels in its water bodies. Each unit fed by rooftop solar system into the grid will entitle the owner for a subsidy of Rs 1.

WELFARE MEASURES

New-generation technological options such as smart grid, prepaid meters and automated metering systems will be rolled out during 2013-14.

A 200-MW wind farm is proposed to be set up in partnership with NTPC, the finance minister said without identifying a choice for the site.

The finance minister declared a comprehensive revision of welfare pensions paid to various sections, including farmers, farm labourers and other vulnerable individuals.

Also announced were scholarships for meritorious students from poor families; extension of interest subsidy on educational loans to the APL category; pension for MGNREGA workers; training for competitive examinations; shelter homes for the destitute and mentally challenged; and doles to migrant labour.

LOCAL BODIES

Local bodies will get an enhanced allocation of Rs 4,000 crore, which is 23.9 per cent higher than the current fiscal year.

Conservation of precious resources of water and drought relief measures received attention with an allocation of Rs 505 crore. A Rs 400-crore scheme is proposed for construction of check dams and regulators.

Industries department gets an allocation of Rs 579.36 crore and public works, Rs 855 crore. A cluster approach would be adopted to promote micro and small-scale units in the State.

(This article was published on March 15, 2013)
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