Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has initiated steps to collect one per cent of the construction cost of private buildings as cess through local bodies.
The cess would go to the construction workers' welfare fund. The cess would be appropriated while remitting the construction fee.
The Kerala Information Mission (KIM) is making necessary updates to the software to collect the cess. The software would be ready in two months.
The local bodies, entrusted to collect the cess, would forward the amount collected to the construction workers' welfare fund. A receipt would be issued to the building owner online. The government would include norms to issue completion certificates to buildings only after collecting the cess.
The State labour department has been collecting the cess from 1995 after the central government brought in the Construction Workers' Welfare Fund Cess Act. However, the collection has not been effective in the State.
The fund raised through the collection of cess would be utilised for the welfare of about 20 lakh members coming under the construction workers' welfare fund. A high-level panel of officials have been assigned with the task of collecting the cess.
Buildings costing less than Rs 10 lakh, and those measuring below 100 square metre have been exempted from the cess based on the amended norms of the Construction Workers' Welfare Fund Cess Act, 2017. Those buildings constructed before November 3, 1995, too, have been exempted. Currently, a fee has to be remitted for getting the licence while constructing a building.
The revenue department will collect a one-time fee after the completion of the building. Buildings measuring above 3,000 square feet will have to pay an annual luxury tax to the revenue department. The construction workers' welfare fund is besides the annual property tax paid to the local bodies.