CPPR Chairman Dr D Dhanuraj and Chief Economist Dr Martin Patrick comments in a news article published in The Times of India on what should Ernakulam district expect from state budget for 2021-22 to be presented by finance minister T M Thomas.

Stakeholders and experts in the district are pinning their hopes high on the state budget for 2021-22 to be presented by finance minister T M Thomas Issac on Friday.

Since the assembly election is around the corner, they expect the budget will be a blend of populist and development schemes since the government had already announced Covid package.
Various departments and organisations have already sent their proposals, with several demands in their respective sectors, to their head offices, which would submit the same to state government to find a place in the budget.

Economist and member of the district planning committee Martin Patrick is of the opinion that the budget would put thrust on Ernakulam’s infrastructural development.

“The government had already announced Covid packages, welfare measures and distribution of kits. So, we do not expect more announcements on that line. Kochi mayor had mentioned about a skywalk for the city and the finance minister is expected to mention it in the budget. The government is also likely focus more on tourism sector which will help Ernakulam to get a package. Food processing is another sector which will get boost in the budget. Fish farming and aquaculture would also get priority in the budget since Ernakulam has immense scope for increase productivity,” said Patrick, who also warned that any development activity should keep in mind ecological balance.

Meanwhile, pineapple farmers in Vazhakulam too expect big in the budget. It was one of the sectors which suffered big dent during Covid-induced lockdown. “We submitted our proposals to the government demanding to increase the support price from Rs.15 to Rs.20 per kg. Vazhakulam agro processing company of the government has remained non-functional for the past two to three years. Government should resume its operation besides giving support for exporting pineapple,” said Jose Perumbilikunnel, president of all Kerala pineapple merchants association.

However, some people said the budget should put more thrust on Ernakulam’s public transport system. “There is no need of more flyovers or metros which only cater to a small number of financially sound people. As per a survey conducted by centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) years ago, it was found that salary of 60% to 70% of respondents working in the city were hovering around Rs.15,000 to Rs.22,000. It means they can’t afford metro’s fare. What we need is an affordable public transport system. Authorities should strengthen public transport to ensure more people come to Kochi. If people stop coming, the city would die affecting the whole state,” demands Dr D Dhanuraj, chairman of CPPR.

This news report was published in The Times of India on January 13, 2021. Click here to read

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