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Cabinet approves Rs. 4,800-cr. Annual Plan

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM DEC. 31. The Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday approved an Annual Plan of Rs. 4,800 crores for the coming financial year (2004-05).

The Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, told presspersons after the Cabinet meeting that the Plan earmarked Rs. 1,022 crores for social services. A sum of Rs. 704 crores was set apart for power and Rs. 392 crores for transport.

The allocations for some of the other sectors are: Agriculture - Rs. 206 crores, Rural Development - Rs. 354 crores, Irrigation and flood control - Rs. 182 crores, Industries - Rs. 284 crores, Cooperation - Rs. 15 crores and Science and Technology - Rs. 50 crores.

The Chief Minister said the current year's Plan of Rs. 4,430 crores would have to be cut. The Plan outlay for the coming year needed to be approved by the Planning Commission.

B.Ed. colleges: Mr. Antony said the Cabinet had cleared the list of 75 B.Ed. colleges proposed to be set up in the State. An entrance examination centre for medical and engineering courses would be set up in Dubai. A reputed institution would be recognised to run the centre.

He said a welfare scheme for dhobis and barbers would be launched in the New Year. The Cabinet had approved the scheme. Documents to be registered for loans up to Rs. 25,000 under the Suwarnajayanthi Gramaswa Rozgar Yojana would be exempted from payment of stamp duty.

Additional AG issue: On the demand of the Leader of the Opposition, V.S. Achuthanandan, for an inquiry by a legislature panel into the conduct of cases by the Additional Advocate-General, V.K. Beeran, the Chief Minister said the Advocate-General had been asked to broadly examine the conduct of different government pleaders in different cases and report to the Government. Mr. Antony said he did not wish to comment on reports about the high command considering a proposal to have a Deputy Chief Minister in the State as the people were fed up with the infighting in his party. The issue was before the high command and its decision would be accepted. As for the coming Lok Sabha elections, the proposed secular democratic front was relevant in Kerala also, he said in reply to a question. Asked about the Governor referring the Kerala Forest (Vesting and Management of Ecologically Fragile Lands) Bill back to the Government, the Chief Minister said that such procedures were normal. The Government had given the necessary clarifications.

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