Amidst a free-for-all that featured fisticuffs and rampant throwing of loudspeakers and chairs, Kerala finance minister KM Mani...
Amidst a free-for-all that featured fisticuffs and rampant throwing of loudspeakers and chairs, Kerala finance minister KM Mani tabled the Kerala state budget for 2015-16 on Friday, completing it in 11 minutes, the shortest budget speech in the State’s legislative history.
The minister slapped imposts on rice, wheat, maida, plastic brooms, petrol and diesel, amid all the chaos. The additional resource mobilisation in the budget for next fiscal is as hefty as R1,220 crore, the highest in recent years. This will spread across tax and non-tax segments.
While rice, wheat and rice products will take a 1% sales tax, maida, wheat powder and semolina will be dearer by 5% and sugar and coconut oil by 1%. State estimates R375 crore in revenue from an additional tax of R1 per litre on petrol and diesel.
Plastic items, cinema ticket and beedi will be costlier as well. A one-year sales tax holiday has been provided on LPG cylinders. Sales tax on household electronic equipment like fridge and TV has been eased. Vehicles registered in other states and plying in Kerala for over a month will be taxed. A 20% tax will be charged on motor bikes costing over R2 lakh.
By stepping up stamp duty and registration fees, the state expects to garner R100 crore. Hospital fees will go up. Mani has imposed 5% tax on copyright of movies. Registration and renewal fees of hotels will go up by 50%. Later Mani explained, in a budget speech text, read out to the media, that his efforts for fiscal consolidation was curtailed by Centre’s squeeze on the state’s share of taxes. This has put fiscal pressure on the state to the tune of R1,450 crore, he said.
Kerala Assembly witnessed unprecedented and ugly scenes as LDF-led Opposition tried all means to thwart Mani from presenting the budget.