Kerala to spend Rs 20,000 cr under package to tackle recession

The CPI(M) led LDF government in Kerala proposes to spend about Rs 20,000 crore for various development projects as part of its package to address economic recession, State Finance Minister T.M Thomas Isaac told the Assembly.

The package will, among other things, include construction of big roads, bridges, IT parks and welfare schemes for poor and backward sections in the society, he said during question hour.

Necessary funds for the same would be raised through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a mechanism envisaged to mobilise funds outside the budget provisions, Isaac said.

Isaac said KIIFB had already sanctioned projects worth Rs 12,000 crore and also would accord approval to schemes to a tune of Rs 2800 crore soon.

“Work for the projects to the tune of Rs 18,000 crore would be taken up this year itself,” he said.

Priority would be given to promote tourism sector by taking up projects under the package.

Similarly, schemes for drinking water supply also would be taken up, he said. There was no need for any anxiety on the functioning of KIIFB that would facilitate funds for the projects approved by the assembly and cabinet, he said.

He also reminded members that reputed persons including Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, are heading the board.

“They will not agree to any wrongdoings,” he added.

Presently the Board has a fund to a tune of Rs 3227 crore, he said.

“There is no need to take loans now. It would be taken only after estimating the needs,” he said.

Stating that there would not be any difficulty for KIIFB to mobilise funds, Isaac said through the motor vehicle and petrol and diesel cess, the board could raise about Rs one lakh crore in the next 20 years.

Isaac also said massive investments were needed in the state to overcome revenue loss suffered by the state due to demonetisation and restrictions on functioning of liquor bars.

(Agencies)

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