Union Budget: Kerala, TN Get Roads, Metro Boost Ahead of Polls
FM Sitharaman made special mention of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in her 2021 Budget speech.
Right at the beginning of her Union Budget-2021 speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, announced sops for two poll bound states – Kerala and Tamil Nadu – where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been trying to make political inroads all through the last decade.
The Finance Minister has announced a 3,500 km-long National Highway corridor in Tamil Nadu. The budget for the project will be Rs 1.03 lakh crore. The TN National Highway will include the Madhurai-Kollam NH.
The FM also announced a 1,100-km-long National Highway corridor in Kerala. Investment of Rs 65,000 crore will be made towards National Highways in the state. This will include the Mumbai-Kanyakumari National Highway.
Sitharaman has said Rs 63,000 crore and Rs 1,957 crore will be allotted to the Chennai Metro project and the Kochi Metro project, respectively.
Further, she announced a Kochi-Chennai-Visakhapatnam fisheries hub and a multipurpose sea weed park in Tamil Nadu.
While Tamil Nadu is expected to go to polls in April-May 2021, Kerala is poll-bound around the same period.
Opposition Parties Slam ‘Poll Sops’
Opposition parties - Congress in Kerala and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu - have deplored the Centre’s decision to invest in the states, ahead of the scheduled Legislative Assembly elections.
The DMK’s MK Stalin tweeted, “The Centre which had ignored Tamil Nadu for six years is going to implement Mega projects before the elections #Budget2021”. He further called the allocation of funds, “maya (illusory) lollipop” given to the Tamil people.
Opposition leaders in Kerala, too, called out the ‘election sops’. Kerala’s Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said in a statement that the budget is “highly disappointing to the common man”.
He further stated, “As usual this budget will help a few corporates explicitly and implicitly”.
Chennithala further stated, “IT (Income Tax) relief was expected by salaried class and they are dejected. There is no proposal for propping up the coir and cashew industries which are major industries in Kerala”.
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