Petrol, diesel and liquor are to cost more in Kerala as the Left government imposed Social Security Cess on their sales as a way to mobilise additional revenue in the state budget presented here on Friday.
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.
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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.
Beginning the budget speech on a positive note, the Minister said the southern state has bravely overcome COVID challenges and finally returned to the path of growth and prosperity.
Though the state’s economy is facing challenges due to the financial policies of the Centre and its decision to impose cuts on its borrowing limit, Kerala is not in a debt trap, he said.
Assuring that the financial constraints would not impact the welfare and social security schemes of the government, he said Rs 100 crore would be set aside for welfare development programmes in the budget.
The FM said common people would not be ignored while announcing big projects and Rs 80 crore would be allocated for alleviating extreme poverty in the southern state. A total of Rs 600 crore would be set aside for rubber subsidy in the state budget, he said, adding that a separate Research and Development budget would be presented to give more focus in the R&D sector.
An extensive industrial and commercial centre will be developed in the area around the under-construction Vizhinjam port, he said.
More focus would be given to the ”Make in Kerala” project to increase the state’s domestic production and give a boost to employment and investment opportunities, the minister added.