Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani today presented his 13th budget amid unprecedented scenes, proposing new taxes on food articles and petroleum products to mop up an additional Rs 1,220 crore revenue for Congress-led UDF government’s various welfare measures.
The budget for 2015-16 slapped 1 per cent tax on packaged rice, rice products and wheat, 5 per cent on maida, atta, suji and rava which is expected to raise an additional revenue of Rs 110 crore. However, it continued with the exemption granted to food articles sold through Public Distribution System.
An additional tax of Re 1 per litre will be imposed on petrol and diesel. An additional revenue of Rs 375 crore is expected from this, he said.
The additional amount received from it will be used for constructing buildings for the weaker sections of the society who do not have an independent dwelling house, Mani said in his speech, which was read out only for ten minutes.
The budget also brought in the tax net all multi-level marketing companies.
Coconut oil and sugar would attract a tax of 1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively to mop up a total amount of Rs 150 crore, while a 14.5 per cent tax on tobacco products and beedi would bring in Rs 15 crore revenue.
Prices of brooms, brushes and mops, made of plastic used for cleaning of floors and toilets, would go up in the state with a new tax of five per cent being imposed.
As a measure to tackle the tax drain in sale of live chicken, 1 per cent tax would be imposed on poultry feed.
The budget also rationalised tax rate of stamp duty, registration fee and tax on two wheelers.
To help rubber growers in the state, reeling under fall in the price of natural rubber, the budget proposed a price stabilisation fund. It also exempted rubber wood from taxes.
For rural economic development, Rs 403.18 crore has been earmarked for rejuvenation of agriculture sector.
Laying thrust on infrastructure development, the budget proposed to mobilse Rs 25,000 crore through Kerala Infrastructure Fund Board and also earmarked Rs 2,000 crore for major projects. While Vizhinjam sea-port project will get Rs 600 crore, Kochi Metro will get Rs 940 crore.
The House witnessed unruly scenes as CPI-M-led LDF members continued their protests demanding Mani’s resignation over the bar bribery issue.
Some other welfare measures proposed in the budget include housing for all, a boost for entrepreneurs and more funds for start-up village.
About Rs 12 crore has been allotted in the budget for the start-up village, Rs 14 crore for young entrepreneurs and Rs 5 crore for student entrepreneurs.
In view of the Centre’s decision to set up an IIT at Palakkad, the budget earmarked Rs 50 crore for land acquisition and providing infrastructure.
In 2010-11 before the UDF Government assumed office, the outlay on all welfare schemes and pensions was Rs 484.14 crore. In the current year, the revised estimates for welfare measures now amount to a sum of Rs 2,710 crore. This reflects an increase of nearly 600 per cent and symbolizes the philosophy of this government that reverberates in its motto, Mani said.
In a women friendly move, a job bank by name ‘She Bank’ will be formed with skilled and trained women.
International Women’s’ Conference will be held in Thiruvananthapuram in November 2015. Text Books will be supplied free to girl students of Plus One and Plus Two Classes of Government and Aided Schools. An allocation of Rs three crore is made for these Projects, Mani said.
The budget showed a revenue estimate of Rs 77,427.20 crore as against the revenue expenditure of Rs 85,259.12 crore.
After considering the additional expenditure announced in the budget, concessions and additional resource mobilisation, the budget estimated a cumulative deficit of Rs 848.58 crore.
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