Budget hiding critical financial situation of Kerala, says Satheesan

VD Satheesan
V D Satheesan speaks to media. Photo: File/Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The opposition Congress-led UDF has slammed the Kerala state budget for the fiscal 2023-24 saying the Left government kept hidden the critical financial situation of the state even as burdening the people with additional taxes.

Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said the government was looting the people with the proposed cess on petrol, diesel and liquor.

Kerala Finance Minister K N Balagopal on Friday presented the Left government's budget for the fiscal 2023-24.

"The budget is hiding the critical financial situation faced by the state government and the proposals amount to looting the people. The decision to impose cess on liquor will lead to more people shifting towards drugs. The budget was presented without doing adequate studies," Satheesan said.

He said the rise in petrol and diesel prices will adversely affect the market.

"The imposition of cess on petrol and diesel comes at a time when we are fighting against soaring fuel prices. This will lead to price rise of essential commodities affecting the common man," Satheesan said.

While presenting the budget for the fiscal 2023-24, Finance Minister K N Balagopal said it is proposed to levy a Social Security Cess at the rate of Rs 20 for each bottle of IMFL having MRP between Rs 500 and Rs 999.

The cess would be levied at the rate of Rs 40 per bottle of IMFL having MRP above Rs 1,000, he said.

"An additional revenue of Rs 400 crore is expected through this," he said.

Another impetus measure towards the Social Security Seed Fund is proposed to be brought by bringing the Social Security Cess on sale of petrol and diesel at the rate of Rs two per litre, he added.

"This is expected to bring in additional revenue of Rs 750 crore to the Social Security Seed Fund," he said.

The existing fair value of land would be increased by 20 per cent to bridge the gap between market value and fair value, the FM said.

Meanwhile, one-time tax on electric motor cabs and electric tourist motor cabs reduced to 5 per cent of the purchase value to minimise air pollution and to promote public transport.

Balagopal, in his budget, allocated Rs 100 crore for welfare programmes and set aside Rs 2,000 crore for tackling price rise, besides announcing a slew of initiatives for the infrastructure and higher education sector.

(With inputs from PTI)

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