Kerala's 848.58 crore deficit budget focuses on infrastructure
news Monday, March 16, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | March 14, 2015 | 8.40 am IST Amid pandemonium in the assembly, Kerala Finance Minister K.M. Mani presented his 13th state budget on Friday -- envisaging a Rs 848.58 crore deficit -- with a proposal to raise Rs 25,000 crore for investment in infrastructure in the next three years. "Funds raised will be tapped on need-basis and would not be allowed to be used for meeting any expenditure other than on major capital projects in the state. I intend to set apart these funds for major projects like the suburban railway corridor, and metros in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, among other projects," said Mani. Despite pandemonium breaking out in the assembly which witnessed opposition Left legislators, in a frenzy, breaking the speaker's chair and computer, Mani presented the budget with "a lot of pride". The Left opposition, accusing Mani of taking a bribe of Rs.1 crore to reopen 418 closed down bars in the state and demanding his resignation, had declared they would not allow him to present the 2015-16 budget. Mani set aside Rs 600 crore for the Vizhinjam International Seaport project, Rs 940 crore for Kochi Metro Rail Project and Rs 50 crore for land acquisition for Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram international airports this year. He also proposed a District Flagship Infrastructure Project for the development of infrastructure under which a major project selected in every district will be funded under this initiative. For this, the minister set aside Rs 1,400 crore. "A budget is not merely a concatenation of figures - it truly embodies aspirations of people. I truly believe that my previous budgets have given a significant impetus to growth. The notable increase in Kerala's economic growth has come for positive comments from many sources," Mani said. He announced a new insurance scheme for auto-rickshaw drivers wherein the state government will meet 90% of the premium. He said the state government will fund the holding of a global education meet in November 2015. Modern systems will be put in place for revenue recovery, personnel management and audit management to beef up revenue collection and prevent revenue leakages, Mani said. He raised the one-time tax on motorcycles by two percent and also levy tax on non-commercial vehicles such as private cars and motorcycles registered in other states and operating in the state for a period of more than 30 days. "Rice, rice products, wheat, maida, atta, suji and rava were already exempted from tax. It is proposed to levy one percent tax on rice, rice products and wheat and five percent tax on maida, atta, suji and rava. Goods sold to PDS will continue to be tax-free," said Mani. He has also levied an additional tax of Rupee one per litre on petrol and diesel. "The additional amount received from it will be used for constructing buildings for the weaker sections of the society," said Mani. Mani told reporters later that the thrust of his budget was "development and care". IANS Tweet
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