"After the Budget is passed, normally it takes 5-6 months to get the allocated funds released. In a recent cabinet meeting, all ministries have been told to start the necessary work in advance for the next Budget," Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan said at the 41st foundation day of the Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB).

This was conveyed to all ministers informally after a recent cabinet meeting, he said.

"We have been told in our Department to start the process now so that funds for crucial schemes are released within 15 days after the Budget is passed in February," he said on the sidelines of the event when asked to elaborate on the issue.

The timely release of allocated funds is crucial for the successful implementation of various schemes, he added.

The Finance Ministry has already initiated the Budgetary exercise for the 2015-16 fiscal by seeking inputs from various Ministries and Departments.

The ministries have been asked to submit revised estimates of expenditure for 2014-15 and demand for grants for the next financial year beginning April 1, 2015.

The Budget, which contains revised estimates for the current financial year and estimates for the next fiscal, is presented on the last working day of February by the Finance Minister in the Lok Sabha.

This would be the second Budget of the Modi government.

Chandy also took serious exception to Congress MLA T N Prathapan's remark that Mani should explain the charges.

"In my view, what Prathpan did was a serious mistake. If he had anything to say, he should have brought it to my attention," he said.

Asked about the statement of the government chief whip, the Chief Minister pointed out that George had earlier reversed many of his statements.

The bar licence issue is now before Kerala High Court.

Owners of bars on small and medium hotels had got some relief yesterday, a day after a single judge upheld government government's decision to close them down, with the HC permitting 250 bars to function for a month.

A division bench ordered status quo as on October 29 with regard to the 250 bars while admitting appeals by bar owners challenging the single judge's order.

Disposing of a batch of 81 petitions challenging the government decision to close down 312 bars attached to hotels below five-star ranking, Justice Surendra Mohan had upheld the government excise policy for 2014-15, paving the way for closure of 700 bars in the state.

The judge had however allowed 33 bars in four-star and eight in heritage category hotels to function after the state government had banned bars in all hotels below five-star ranking. Besides, 21 bars in five-star hotels were allowed to operate by the court.

The bar owners had contended before the single judge that the decision to close all bars was taken in "haste" and would be counter productive as it would lose substantial revenue from Abkari (excise) business, besides impacting tourism.

The government's stand was that it was its "avowed" policy to reduce liquor consumption in the state stage by stage and to achieve the goal of total prohibition in a 10 year span.

Out of 700 odd bars, government had earlier declined to renew licences of 418 sub-standard bars and later decided to close down 312 bars in hotels below five-star ranking.