Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 5 (PTI) Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Monday presented the state’s budget for the financial year 2024-25 in the assembly by allocating 1,698.30 crore for the struggling agriculture sector and increasing the minimum support price for rubber to 180 from 170.

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He also set aside 50 crore for extreme poverty eradication and announced 134.42 crore for the cooperative sector.

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Tabling the fourth budget of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government, Balagopal said that though the state is facing an economic crunch and the Centre allegedly imposing financial restrictions, the LDF government would not show any compromise in the development front.

Indicating that the state government would go ahead with its development plans, the finance minister said investments worth three lakh crore would be brought to the southern state in the next three years.

He said 1,698 crore would be set aside for the traditional agricultural sector and investments worth 5,000 crore would be attracted to the tourism sector.

“The tourism sector is growing. Allocating 351 crore for it in fiscal 2024-25,” he said.

Amidst increasing demand by rubber farmers for hiking its support price, Balagopal announced an increase of 10 in it.

“The minimum support price for rubber is increased to 180 from 170,” he said.

Announcing more support to the higher education sector, the minister earmarked 250 crore for the Digital University.

Balagopal said along with the straightening of lines and doubling of tracks, it is necessary to have the high speed rail system for the future development of the state. “The state will continue with its efforts to realise the K-Rail project. Discussions with the Central government in this regard are going on,” he added.

The minister also blamed the Centre’s economic policies and alleged neglect of Kerala for the southern state’s financial problems.

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