THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: If capital Thiruvananthapuram was expecting earth-shaking announcements in the 2018-19 state budget, then it has every reason to frown at the Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac.
The city figured dismally low in the scheme of things in the 156-page-long, literary quotation-packed budget presentation made by Isaac on Friday. No new big infrastructure projects were forthcoming in the budget. Nor was there any mention of the ongoing mega enterprises like the Vizhinjam seaport project or proposed ones like the Light Metro or Thiruvananthapuram City Road Improvement Project (T-CRIP) Phase II.
On the other hand, the budget has ample allocations to upgrade existing institutions. Topping this list is a plan to scale up the Technopark-based Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IITM-K) into a deemed university. The budget has earmarked Rs 65 crore for this initiative. The number of students will be raised to 1,000. “This institution should not remain just another skill training centre or a university in the traditional sense. It should develop into an ecosystem that grasps rare skills and covers new horizons,” Isaac said.
The budget has earmarked Rs 40 crore for a joint project by KELTRON and US-based Intel to manufacture laptops and servers. Manvila in the city is the likely the location, though it has not been finalised. The third notable project for the capital city is a new virology institute that will come up at the Life Science Park, Thonnackal. The institute is designed to be a centre of excellence, and a major step forward in the state’s efforts to leave a mark in the biotechnology sector.
The budget has earmarked Rs 15 crore for this project. Isaac has also set aside Rs 25 crore as an opening instalment for Medspark, a JV of the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), for manufacturing medical equipment. The project is expected to cost Rs 180 crore. The Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) has been earmarked Rs 79 crore. Technopark and Technocity will benefit from an Rs 84 crore outlay which also includes the Technopark at Kollam.
The budget has also earmarked Rs 15 crore for an archives complex at the Kariavattom campus of Kerala University. Thiruvananthapuram district is also one of the locations for a proposed industrial park. The government will identify 500 acres in the district for this initiative which will be funded via KIIFB.