Kerala Budget today, tax hikes expected

The main aim of the budget would be overcoming the deep financial crisis which has gripped the state. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s Finance Minister K N Balagopal will present the latest state budget in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, at 9 am. On Thursday, the pre-budget economic survey report was tabled in the Assembly.

The main aim of the budget would be overcoming the deep financial crisis which has gripped the state. In order to achieve this goal, an increase in land tax and the fair price of land is expected.

Welfare pensions
At the same time, the government would be exploring options for a hike in welfare pensions even amid objections from officials who have warned that the move would worsen the crisis. In fact, the Finance Minister is planning to raise such pensions by Rs 100, said sources.

If the welfare pensions are increased, the 50 lakh beneficiaries would receive Rs 1700 a month, compared to the present amount of Rs 1600. Incidentally, the election manifesto of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) had promised to gradually raise welfare pensions to Rs 2,500.

Other anticipated announcements
Meanwhile, Balagopal is likely to make the following announcements also in the Kerala budget:

An increase in tax on all items, except fuel and liquor.

A hike in floor price of rubber, coconut and vegetables.

More concessions to electric vehicles.

A new package for the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

Clearing dues regarding revised pension.

Partially allowing dearness allowance of state government employees.

Completion of Vizhinjam and K-Fon projects.

A total revamp of the higher education sector.

A project to prevent incursion of wildlife into areas of human habitation.

Kerala's economy has posted a strong recovery in 2021-22:  Economic Review
According to the Economic Review tabled in the state Assembly by Finance Minister Balagopal on Thursday, Kerala's economy has posted a strong recovery in 2021-22 with Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) at constant prices recording a robust growth of 12.01 per cent, compared to (-) 8.43 per cent in 2020-21.   This is the highest growth recorded since 2012-13 and gave the credit to the stimulus packages, along with other policy interventions of the state government, augmented growth, particularly at a time when economic activities were severely constrained, for the achievement.

It said in 2021-22, the sectoral composition of Gross State Domestic Product reveals positive developments across sectors. "Agriculture and allied activities, industry and tertiary sectors grew 4.6 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 17.3 per cent respectively in 2021-22 over 2020-21. This was a very creditable record, particularly in the light of the fact that preceding year the sectors recorded negative growth", the Economic Review said, adding that the state government achieved this robust growth despite the fiscal constraints set by the Government of India. 

(With inputs from PTI)

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