Just hours ahead of the notification of the Parliamentary election schedule, the LDF government in Kerala on Saturday announced increasing the rubber subsidy to Rs 180 as announced in the state budget.

Further, ₹628 crore has been sanctioned towards pension arrears.

State Finance Minister K N Balagopal said the state government has implemented the Rubber Production Incentive Scheme in view of the fall in prices of natural rubber.

The government had on February 5 announced in the assembly that in the budget for 2024-25, the subsidy amount for rubber has been increased by ₹10 from ₹170 per kg. It had said the same would come into effect from April 1.

On Saturday, the minister claimed that even as the price of rubber rises in the international market, the policies adopted by the central government are causing its rates to fall in the country.

In this situation, the state government had decided to help the rubber farmers as much as possible despite its financial difficulties, Balagopal said in a statement.

The development comes in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday saying that both the LDF and UDF governments have turned a blind eye to the struggles of rubber planters.

Besides that, the Rubber Board had on Friday announced an incentive of ₹5 per kg for the export of rubber sheets.

In the statement issued by the minister's office, Balagopal said the shortfall in rubber prices from the market rate would be given as a subsidy to the farmers.

He also said that an additional ₹24.48 crore has been sanctioned as production bonus to rubber farmers in the state.

More than 1.50 lakh small and marginal rubber farmers, who are on the Rubber Board's approved list of beneficiaries, will get the benefit, the minister said.

In April 2021, the subsidy amount was raised to ₹170 per kg.

The minister also announced that the third installment of the arrears of the 11th pension reform of retired employees and teachers has been sanctioned.

He said ₹628 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose and it would benefit around 5.07 lakh people.

The government has also sanctioned ₹130 crore for the Life Mission project under which houses are provided to the homeless, the minister's office said.

The amount sanctioned is the state's share under the project, it said.

It also said that ₹356 crore has been given to the project this year.