Kerala's finance minister TM Thomas Isaac unveiled the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government's annual Budget on Friday, with an emphasis on job creation and social welfare schemes.
The minister said his government aims to provide 20 lakh jobs through digital platforms within five years.
Focus will be on women who have taken a career break or are ready to work from home. Registration for this will begin in February, Isaac said.
"In Kerala, an estimated 5 lakh women professionals have taken a career break. Another 40 lakh educated women, outside of the labour force, are willing to work from home. 16 lakh educated youngsters registered with employment exchange are waiting for jobs. The total comes to 60 lakh and an extensive scheme is being initiated to provide employment to at least 20 lakh among them through digital platform within 5 years," he announced.
The finance minister said the Covid-19 situation has sparked massive changes in job structures globally and everyone should be able to utilise the avenues opened by this. "Globally, almost 50 lakh people were doing digital jobs outside centralised offices. This increased to 3 crore during the Covid pandemic. It is assumed that their number will go up to 18 crore in the next five years. 'Work from home' has become a norm," he said.
The minister proposed a Rs 20-crore project to convert buildings with at least 5,000 sq ft space into workstations at the block and municipal level.
The Budget stated that opportunities will be created for companies to recruit employees for centralised or decentralised jobs. Details of those professionals and trained persons will be made available on a digital platform.
The state government will provide help to the candidates selected by companies through this digital platform including over-the-counter loans for purchase of computer and other peripherals required for work through the Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC) , Kerala State Financial Enterprises Ltd (KSFE) and Kerala Bank.
Loans could be repaid in monthly instalments up to a period of 2 years and if one loses a job, they need to repay the amount only after getting the next job.
If required, workstation facility will be provided on concessional rent, the Budget plan says.
The minister announced that the employer’s contribution of the provident fund will be remitted by the government and if PF is not preferred, insurance premium for termination benefits payable on retirement will be paid by the government and health insurance too will be provided.