Road maintenance, production sector get priority in VP Shiny George’s surplus budget
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Soon, people in Ernakulam will no longer need to buy milk packets. Instead, they will be able to withdraw milk like cash from ATMs. The Ernakulam district panchayat has proposed to implement the Any Time Milk (ATM) project by installing milk vending machines across the district. The novel project was announced in the district panchayat’s 2022-23 budget presented on Wednesday.

The first outlet under the project, which will be implemented in association with Milma and dairy farmers, is planned to be launched near the district headquarters within a few months. The surplus budget presented by District Panchayat vice-president Shiny George projects revenue receipts of Rs 196.61.crore and expenditure of Rs 191.66 crore, with a Rs 4.95-crore surplus after adjusting the reserves.

The budget, as in the last one presented by the UDF-led council, gives prominence to social security sector and public works — including annual maintenance of roads and bridges — that have been transferred to the panchayat. The budget has earmarked Rs 80 crore for public works sector.

The production sector, which got Rs 20 crore, had the second highest allocation. Pokkali farming, promotion of organic vegetable cultivation and other projects aimed at the revival of agriculture received a major chunk of allocation. The education sector received Rs 16.5 crore, with a huge part of it planned to be spent on converting roofs of schools from asbestos sheets to concrete slabs.

“We have completed 95% of projects announced in our previous budget. This year, we are trying to work in a time-bound manner. So the project we announced is prepared on the basis of its implementation capacity,” District Panchayat President Ullas Thomas told reporters. A major highlight was the proposal to set up a website to ensure women’s safety. The budget also earmarked an amount for the employment of transgender community.

Major allocations
Public works: Rs 80 cr
Production: Rs 20 cr
Education: Rs 16.5 cr
Agriculture: Rs 12 cr
Health: Rs 10.47 cr
Drinking water: Rs 7 cr
Women empowerment: Rs 6 cr
Fisheries: Rs 5 cr
Differently-abled welfare: Rs 5 cr
Tourism: Rs 2.5 cr
Industries: Rs 2.5 cr

Global Dairy Trade Event #306 concluded with the aggregate down 2.9%. Cheddar cheese was down 0.1%. Whole Milk Powder was 4.9% lower. Skim Milk Powder fell 0.6%. Butter dropped 1.0%

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