Kerala Budget: Fees, fines may be hiked to shore up revenue

Finance Minister K N Rajagopal has made it clear that the State urgently needed to find additional revenue sources to move forward. Photo: Manorama.

Thiruvananthapuram: The cash-strapped Left Democratic Front government in Kerala is on the lookout for revenue mobilization at all costs and the upcoming State Budget may see it resorting to a steep hike in fees and penalties.

Finance Minister A N Balagopal is learned to have decided to explore all possible means to mop up the revenue. He has made it clear that the State urgently needed to find additional revenue sources to move forward.

The Government may also increase the fair value of land by 10 percent and hike the Motor Vehicle tax. Last year, it targeted an additional resource mobilization of Rs 602 crore, and the target figure will be much higher this time.

Sources said a reduction in budgetary allocation to local-self institutions may be initiated while coming up with directions to increase their revenue.

Some of the property tax, entertainment tax, advertisement tax, Building permit fees, Regularization fees, and licence fees may be increased. Similarly, the fees and fines being levied in connection with the Forest, Police, Revenue, Excise, and Education departments may also go up.

It is expected that the fees will be increased by five percent. Though the fair value of land may be hiked by 10 percent, the Government won’t be initiating steps to re-fix the fair value of the land.

Likewise, registration rates too may be revised. Another proposal being considered is the increase in the sales tax on petrol, diesel, and liquor. Currently, the highest sales tax is the prohibitive 251% on liquor. Though the sales tax on liquor was hiked in November, the Government maintains that the same was effected by exempting the revenue tax of liquor companies. However, a final decision on the same is yet to be taken.

The Kerala Budget is to be presented on February 3. The Budget Session of the Assembly commenced on Monday.  

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