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Empowering Minds: Kerala Unveils Ambitious 2024 Budget, Pledges Over 1000 Crores to Transform Education Sector

The budget for the financial year 2024-25 in Kerala was presented on February 5, 2024, by the Finance Minister, K. N. Balagopal. A substantial amount of Rs. 1032.62 crores has been allocated to the public education sector, with an additional 33 crores earmarked for school modernization, representing a significant injection into the education system. Notably, the announcement highlighted the elevation of one school to a model school in each district of Kerala, demonstrating a commitment to improving educational infrastructure.

Furthermore, the budget allocates Rs. 155.34 crore for the distribution of free uniforms, emphasizing the government's focus on enhancing accessibility and affordability in the education sector. The establishment of five new nursing colleges in the state, along with a Rs. 13 crore allocation for waste management projects in medical colleges, underscores the government's comprehensive approach to healthcare and education.

Minister KN Balagopal expressed a vision for the education sector to become a robust capital, drawing students from outside the state for professional courses, with specific facilities for foreign nationals at all medical colleges. The government's efforts to attract international students are evident in the planned upgrades of state universities with advanced technology and the prioritization of foreign university campuses, aligning with UGC guidelines.

In a significant move to boost the sports sector, the Finance Minister announced plans to create 10,000 jobs, backed by an investment of Rs. 5000 crores through the International Sports Summit. Additionally, a new pension scheme for state employees was introduced, enhancing the welfare of government workers.

During the budget presentation, the Finance Minister criticized the Union Interim Budget 2024, expressing disappointment. The key highlights from Kerala Budget 2024-25 include a focus on public education, with Rs. 1,032 crore allocated, the establishment of model schools, and support for art and culture with Rs. 170 crore. The Kudumbashree mission receives Rs. 265 crore, and a new initiative, Kudumbashree Livelihood Initiative for Transformation (K-LIFT), was launched with Rs. 25 crore. Kalamandalam deemed university secured Rs. 19.5 crore, and Rs. 9.27 crore was allotted for the modernization of the Excise department.

Other allocations in the budget include Rs. 9.88 crore for dialysis units in hospitals, Rs. 9.5 crore for Vimukthi, the campaign against drug addiction, Rs. 1689.30 crore for the farm sector, Rs. 128 crore for the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), and Rs. 7.5 crore for the Haritha Kerala mission for pond renovation. Additionally, the Kochi Metro received Rs. 239 crore in the Kerala Budget 2024-25, further illustrating the comprehensive and diverse range of allocations in the budget.

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