Kerala budgets didn’t do justice to NRIs, says Issac (Lead)

February 10th, 2011 - 5:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 10 (IANS) State Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who presented his sixth consecutive budget Thursday, opined that his budgets have not been able to do full justice to the Non-Resident Keralites.”Let me ask: what the hell has the central government done for NRIs? Don’t they have huge amounts collected by way of various fees from the NRIs? Let them also do something, but look this time I have set aside Rs.19 crore for them…I fully agree this is little,” said Issac.

In this budget, Issac has set aside Rs.9 crore for various welfare schemes and Rs.10 crore for the Norka Welfare Fund.

Besides, an orientation programme for all those who go to the Middle East will be launched, and a legal aid cell would be set up to handle cases for the needy.

Kerala annually receives remittances of more than Rs.25,000 crore from the over 2.5 crore Non-Resident Keralites, of whom 90 percent are in the Middle East.

“See, there are two types of NRKs (Non-Resident Keralites), one who are wealthy and we have launched programmes like Al-Baraka Financial Services Company that has got the nod to operate business on the lines of Islamic Bank and also major infrastructure projects like the Kannur airport. The other segment is those who work abroad to meet both ends meet and they are the ones who should get more benefits and we are doing our best, even though we know it is not enough,” said Issac.

Issac is only the second finance minister to present all the budgets in a five-year tenure of the state assembly. His senior party colleague T. Sivadasa Menon achieved this in the E.K. Nayanar cabinet (1996-2001).

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