Honararium of anganwadi workers and helpers hiked

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy winding up debate on the Budget as Opposition protests on Feb. 18Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly on Wednesday that the monthly honorarium of anganwadi workers and helpers would be increased to Rs. 10000 and Rs. 7000 respectively. Currently, the honorarium was Rs. 6600 and Rs. 5100 respectively.

Winding up the general discussion on the Budget for the coming year, the Chief Minister announced that the monthly wages of ayahs, who prepare noon meal for pupils in schools, would be raised to the range of Rs. 400 to Rs. 500. Currently, this was in the range of Rs. 350 to Rs. 400. The honorarium of literacy workers would be increased by Rs. 1000.

Mr. Chandy said that poultry farming and cattle rearing would be recognised as part of agriculture, eligible for loans, power subsidy and tax concessions. Haritha maitri agriculture markets would be started all over the State. The ‘Niravu’  programme for agriculture development would be extended to remaining 54 constituencies.

He said that the government would extend assistance to families of persons donating organs to meet their hospital expenses. Rs. 1 crore was being earmarked for that.

The government, he said, will contribute 50 per cent of the premium of health insurance for journalists. Rs. 10 lakh will be provided for renovation of Kottayam Press Club. Pension for indigent journalists will be increased from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 3000.

The contribution payable by tailors to their welfare fund will be increased by Rs. 10 and various benefits will be revised.

Houses of families with members suffering from cerebral palsy, autism and mental retardation will be exempted from building tax if their disability was more than 80 per cent. The loss to the local bodies in this respect will be covered under the ‘Kanivu’ programme announced in the Budget. A disabled person will be appointed as coordinator for the programme in each panchayat and the government will meet 50 per cent expenditure.

The allowance for home guards, which had been increased to Rs. 500, will be hiked further by Rs. 100.

Rs. 1.50 crore is earmarked for the Sree Chitra Hospital being started in Wayanad district in collaboration with the Central Government. Rs. 50 crore is set apart for the rehabilitation project for evictees of Vizhinjam project. Rs. 1 crore is earmarked for headload workers’ pension from their welfare fund.

Benefits under karunaya scheme would be extended to Keralites seeking treatment in hospitals in Mangaluru and Coimbatore. A multi-specialty unit for women and children will be started in district hospital Mananthavadi. Rs. 10 crore is sanctioned Malappuram Cancer Research Centre.

Besides, Rs. 5 crore is earmarked for paying minimum wages and arrears to reed and bamboo workers and Rs. 2 crore for modernisation of khadi sector.