Kerala Budget brings cheer to local bodies

February 1, 2019 | By | Add a Comment

Local bodies in Kerala have much to cheer from the budget for 2019-20, with the plan outlay to be increased to ₹7,500 crore this year, compared to the ₹7,000 crore allocated last year.

Of this, ₹250 crore is earmarked for Special Project of the flood affected panchayats. An amount of ₹1,307 crore has been set aside for the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and ₹196 crore for the Scheduled Tribe Sub Plan.

In addition to the plan grant, Local Government Institutions will get ₹2,741 crore as Maintenance Grant and ₹1,626 crore as General Purpose Grant. Thus the total amount comes to ₹11,867 crore. From this, ₹1,210 crore is for corporations, ₹1,617 crore for municipalities, ₹1,564 crore for district panchayats, ₹1,090 crore for block panchayats and ₹6,334 crore for grama panchayats.

With all the main centrally sponsored schemes (CSS) being implemented through local bodies, allocation for rural development amounting to ₹5,136 crore including central share will be expended through block and grama panchayats.

The allocation of ₹1,862 crore for urban development will be expended through corporations. In addition to this, at least an amount of ₹2,500 crore from LIFE Housing Mission will be expended through local bodies. Taken together, a total of ₹21,000 crore will be available for Local Governments, excluding their own funds.

As part of efforts to build enough capacity for effective expenditure of the increased funding, 195 new posts of engineers have been created, to ensure that at least one Engineer will be available in all Local Government Institutions.

A Welfare Fund will be formulated for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) workers. Those who have worked more than 25 days in a month for three consecutive years are already eligible for Social Security Pension.

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac also pointed out the weaknesses in planning at the local level, including excessive number of small projects which follow the same pattern every year and lack of comprehensive programmes. Public participation is also below expectations, leading to bureaucratic dominance. As a remedy to this, resource centres comprising voluntary experts, in every districts, will be constituted. An amount of ₹40 crore has been earmarked this year also for taking up the joint projects based on district plan.

State Finance Commission will be appointed urgently to study and submit recommendations on financial devolution of Local Administrative Institutions. An amount of ₹33 crore has been earmarked for the Kerala Institute of Local Administartion (KILA), with ₹2 crore additionally earmarked for training and experiments for creating local models for treatment of solid-liquid waste.

 

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