When Finance Minister P Chidambaram presents the Union Budget on Thursday, Kerala will be hoping that its main demands and some of the key projects in the wish list presented to the Centre lands in its kitty.
Topping the wish list presented by the State Government and pushed forward by the MPs from the state are establishment of Indian Institute of Medical Science (IIMS) in Kerala, International Ayurveda Research Institute to fully leverage the traditional Ayurveda knowledge and the long-pending demand of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to boost the technical education in the state.
In the meeting convened by Chidambaram of all state Finance Ministers, K M Mani had urged the Centre to announce necessary policy changes to boost the export of traditional products from the state that Kerala Government started as part of the market diversification.
Other main demands put forward by the State Government include export incentive for plantation crops and to impose restriction on import based on the cultivation of the seasonal crops and availability of raw materials.
Other demands include imposing duty on import of palm oil, introduction of subsidy to coconut oil supplied through public distribution system and roll out of the pilot project started by the Centre to promote coconut grove to the entire state. The State Government also expects special agricultural package for Wayanad and Idukki districts in this year’s Budget.
With regard to major infrastructure projects including Vizhinjam International Transshipment Terminal that the State Government is already going ahead with, the Central assistance for the viability gap funding is something that the Kerala is looking forward to in the Budget.
The State Government which started many projects making the maximum use of the incentives announced in the last Budget for solar power units is eying for budget announcement to get Central assistance by way of subsidy or further incentives.
With the tourism sector reeling under multiple taxations such as VAT, luxury tax and service tax, the State Government had requested the Centre to exempt it from service tax for one year.
Kerala is hoping for more sops to IT companies with regard to MAT, SEZ and transfer pricing.
Mani also had requested to include all sections of the society in the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, the national health insurance scheme. Special requests also have been made regarding various Centrally-sponsored schemes.
The State Government hopes that various recommendations forwarded by B K Chathurvedi Committee regarding the Centrally-sponsored schemes will be implemented in this Budget. If okayed it will give more freedom to State Governments to implement Centrally-sponsored schemes.