Liquor, cigarette to become dearer in Kerala

Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014,19:32 IST By metrovaartha A A A

The Kerala Government today decided to impose a 20 per cent hike in liquor tax, an additional eight per cent on cigarette, 50 per cent hike in water charges and a steep hike in land tax to mobile additional resources to tide over the financial crisis.
Briefing newspersons, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said tax on liquor would go up to 135 per cent from the present 115 per cent.
There would be an additional five per cent cess for mobilising funds for the rehabilitation of people affected by the government’s new policy to close down bars. He said tax on wine and beer would go up to 70 per cent from the present 50 per cent.
An additional sum of Rs 1,230 crore was expected to be mobilised through the hike in the liquor prices, he added.
Kerala’s decision to close 730 bars in the state under the new liquor policy had a serious impact on its revenue with an estimated loss of Rs 7,000 crore annually. ‘We are expected to tide over the situation through a series of measures that will not affect common man,’ he said.
Asked whether closing down of bars and hike in liquor price will affect common man, the Chief Minister said his government would not consider liquor as an essential commodity.
It was also not the fundamental duty of the government to provide liquor to the citizen- he said.
The Chief Minister said an additional Rs 264 crore would be mobilised through a hike in cigarette prices. The tax on cigarette would be hiked from 22 per cent to 30 per cent. Of which, three per cent would be utilised for mobilising funds for the newly launched cancer care project.
New land tax slabs would come into force with an aim to mobilise an additional revenue of Rs 78 crore.
The plantation tax would also go up, he said adding that an Ordinance would be promulgated soon to bring effect to all the new tax proposals.
Water tariff would be increased by 50 to 60 per cent to mop up an additional revenue of Rs 205 crore.
He said as a token measure, the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues would contribute 20 per cent of their monthly salary to the state exchequer till March 31, 2015.
He said all the government fees, except those in the educational sector, would go up from 15 to 50 per cent.
The Cabinet has given approval for a Rs 1,200 crore project of the US-based Taurus Investment Holdings for developing a downtown mode social infrastructure close to Kerala’s IT hub Technopark here.
The Chief Minister said the government would provide 19.73 acares of land on lease for 90 years at a rate of Rs five crore per acre.
The project would generate direct job opportunities for 20,000 persons and indirect job opportunities for another 25,000 persons.