Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance minister Thomas Isaac is presenting the state budget for 2019-2020 today. The Minister said that the economic impact of the floods last year coupled with poor implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had affected the state’s fiscal health.
However, he assured that there would be no cut on expenditure to get over the financial crisis. He also pointed out that the Sabarimala violence was the other disaster that the state had to grapple with.
Isaac said that a hub of industrial parks and townships will also be set up. The minister pointed out that an industrial area would be set up in association with the Kannur International Airport.
He said many multi-nationals were investing in the state. Nissan had set up a centre in the capital city. He pointed out that Tech Mahindra had also rented space in the state.
Issac said that startups would be the main focus area and Rs 70 crore had been earmarked for youth programme of startups.
Reports say that one of the major highlights of the budget will be a universal primary health care programme to cover 50 per cent of the population. This will be over and above the Ayushman Bharat health insurance program of the Centre that Kerala has agreed to adopt.
Speaking to a leading daily, Isaac had said, “We are still 13-15% behind the projected revenue. Our whole mean fiscal policy was premised upon a 20% growth on GST. Kerala being a consumer state, that was naturally our expectation. More than that, during the previous governments from 2006-14, VAT was growing at 18-19% pa. Now it’s very slow primarily because of internal leakages,” he said.
The debate on the budget 2019 will begin on February 4 at Kerala Legislative Assembly. The discussions will continue on February 5 and 6.