Thiruvanathapuram :As Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac prepares to present his last full budget this tenure, official figures point to an alarming fall in Kerala's revenue receipts. The finance minister himself admitted in the Assembly on Tuesday that the state was facing a severe liquidity crunch.

Provisional figures released by the comptroller and auditor general shows that at the end of December 2019 only Rs 62,328.34 crore, or 54 per cent, of Rs 1,15,361.22 crore (the estimated  revenue for 2019-20) had come into the state's kitty.

Even last fiscal, considered one of the worst in terms of revenue collection, Kerala had managed to pocket 62.5 per cent of its estimated revenue by December.

Isaac absolved himself of all blame. Instead, he attributes this mostly to the general economic slowdown and a series of corporate-friendly steps that had devastated the finances of the centre.

Isaac said the huge pay out to the corporates in Nirmala Sitharaman's first Budget last year had squeezed the tax revenues of the centre. The union finance minister had reduced the corporate tax on companies with a turnover of up to Rs 400 crore to 25 per cent in the Budget presented on July 5, 2019. This had knocked down the effective tax rate on over 99 per cent of companies to 27.8 per cent."Central transfers to the states, as a result, would come down. It would also shrink the share of states in the central tax," he said.

Alappuzha: The second case of coronavirus from the state was confirmed on sunday at Alapuzha by  Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja. The second patient is currently at the isolation ward in Alappuzha Medical College. The patient is being closely monitored. Both patients were among the students from Wuhan University who returned to India from China on on January 24.

The Kerala government was waiting for results from the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, to give the confirmation. The minister also said that instead of sending samples to Pune and wait for results, arrangements have been made for the tests to be done at the virology lab in Alappuzha itself. She  emphasised that there is no need to fear and advised everyone to follow the guidelines  given by the health authorities strictly.

The two patients who was confirmed with corona virus  were seated next to each other in the flight from Wuhan.

Kochi: Kudumbashree products, which come from women entrepreneurs in various parts of Kerala, are now available on Amazon.in. In a test run, five products are being sold on Amazon, and the first order has already come from Himachal Pradesh.

S Harikishore, executive director of Kudumbashree, says that soon there will be 100 non-food products on the online shopping site, after an MoU is signed towards the end of the month. The items sold include beauty products, oils, soaps and handicrafts. 

The products come from women who make them at home throughout the state, and are known for their authenticity and purity. “We started our own portal kudumbashreebazaar.com about a year ago. There are 450 products there from 200 entrepreneurs. We had taught them everything from receiving the orders online and packing the products and taking it to the nearest post office. We have a tie up with the post office,” Harikishore says.

Kudumbashree came into existence more than 20 years ago as a woman empowerment and poverty eradication programme of the state government. Their products have been traditionally sold through fairs and festivals, and were later sold at home shops, community marketing networks where products were taken directly to households of consumers. Harikishore says it’s being done effectively in Kozhikode and Kannur districts and will soon be fully implemented in the other districts.

A third way to market the products has been through permanent Kudumbashree stalls, which are installed across the state. “And now, the fourth way is online marketing. When we launched our portal last year, we were not able to market it properly. That’s how we thought of displaying it in places such as Amazon which are strong in marketing. We would also be having new online marketing plans.”

Amazon had asked for a slight change in the system – the products should be available at a central store rather than multiple homes from where the entrepreneurs pack it themselves. Harikishore’s office in Thiruvananthapuram is now the central store where the products are stored. 

 

 

 

After the third case of coronavirus was confirmed, the Kerala government on monday declared the virus outbreak a state calamity. 'This is a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the virus and not a situation to get panic', reminded Kerala Health Minister K K Shailaja.

According to official records,  there are 2239 people in Kerala who are under medical surveillance, both at  home and in hospitals. The third patient, like the two others who had earlier tested positive, is also a medical student of Wuhan University and is now isolated in Kanhangad District Hospital of Kasaragod district.

In wake of reports that human-to-human transmission is a possibility, the ministry informed that there are still 82 people in the state who have had close contact with the three from Wuhan who tested positive. The ministry cautioned them against travelling without the prior permission of the government.

Leaves of employees working in the Health department has been put on hold. If necessary, employees on leave in other departments too will be recalled to work, officials informed.


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will visit Kerala on February 14 ahead of Lok Sabha elections, BJP State Spokesman MS Kumar said.

 

The UP Chief Minister will address booth level party workers from Kollam, Aattingal and Thiruvananthapuram at a function to be held in Pathanamthitta district on the day.

 

"Yogi will also attend a meeting of Sakthi Kendra in-charges and Page in-charges on the day. About 25,000 booth level workers are expected to attend the party meet," he added.

 

BJP National President Amit Shah will reach Palakkad on February 22 to address Sakthi Kendra in-charges of Alathur, Ponnani, Malappuram Lok Sabha seats.

 

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address booth level workers all over the country through a video conference on February 28," he added.

 

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the Lok sabha elections nears, all the parties are heating their heads on deciding the best candidates for each of the constituencies. All the eyes are on the state capital constituency Thiruvanathapuram.

The undeafated champion Sashi tharoor, who has won the seat both the times he contested is the only name from the UDF list where as LDF couldn’t find the right candidate to win back their old forte after Panniyan Rveendran has stopped contesting. Annie Raja and Kannayaa Kumar are some of the names under considerationThe previous election remains as a terrible memory for them where they finishes 3rd even behind BJP.

While Tharoor is the face of national congress, the BJP counts on the ‘believers’ hoping that their attempts to support them on the shabarimala issues would earn them a seat. K SURENDRAN who  is a popular leader may try his chances on this constituency after BJP’S O RAJAGOPAL. Discussion were even made to bring Actor Mohanlal to the arena which he politely declined.  As the discussions and strategies get heatened up in every corner of the state, Kerala welcomes another election season and is prepared to make their choices