New Kerala budget provides sops for diaspora
Thiruvananthapuram, July 8 (IANS) There has been an increased allocation for the diaspora in the revised budget presented in the Kerala assembly on Friday by state Finance Minister Thomas Issac.
Issac presented the ‘alteration memorandum’ of the state budget, as the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Pinarayi Vijayan government assumed office on May 25 this year.
“At present there is an allocation of just Rs one lakh in the welfare fund for the return diaspora, and I am increasing it to Rs 10 crore. This is meant to increase the benefits paid out to the needy,” said Issac.
He also decided to double from Rs 12 crore to Rs 24 crore the allocation in the scheme for rehabilitation of those who have returned.
“The previous government had begun a loan scheme jointly with financial institutions for the diaspora who wish to start a business. But that programme failed to take off due to nonpayment of back-end subsidy upfront. We will ensure that the back-end subsidy is paid up front,” said Issac.
He also pointed out that on account of the slowing of the Middle East economy, the fortunes of the diaspora might get affected, which is a cause of concern.
“There are two sections of our diaspora: Those who seek a rehabilitation once they are here, and the other group that is looking to invest and also seeking jobs. We are planning special parks where the diaspora can invest,” added Issac.
The increased allocation comes at a time when the economic condition in Middle East countries is on the downswing in the wake of falling oil prices, and there could be a possible loss of jobs besides the rapid localisation policies of employment being taken up in those countries.