Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 3 (ANI): Leader of Opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly VD Satheesan lashed out at the Pinarayi Vijayan government over the State Budget announcement.
Speaking to mediapersons, Satheesan said, "Imposing numerous taxes, the government is trying to introduce tax terrorism in the state. We are already facing a debt situation and the government is now imposing more taxes on the common man. These tax hikes have been in effect for the last six years. A new burden of Rs 4,000 crore in taxation is being put on the people."
The Congress leader said after the flood and pandemic situation the financial health of people became very vulnerable. He said people are not able to pay back their loans and banks are confiscating their properties.
Satheesan said inflation and price hike is at their peak and the government is trying to increase the tax even for petrol and diesel.
"While we are fighting against the central government for the fuel price hike, the state government is adding more cess and burden to the life of the people in Kerala. The fair value increased 20 per cent and the motor vehicle tax is also increased. Wherever they can make new taxation, they had done it. But the fiscal situation is very vulnerable," said the Kerala Leader of Opposition.
Satheesan said the Kerala government is trying to cover its deed by announcing new projects.
"In the last budget, they also declared many projects but when we are going through the performance audit it is evident that the government failed to deliver. So there is no value and sanctity in the budget declaration," he added.
Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Friday presented the budget for the 2022-23 financial year in the legislative assembly.
This Budget marks the third by Balagopal after he took over as the state's Finance Minister.
The Budget allocated Rs 2,000 crore to check inflation. Despite being a consumerist State Kerala was able to control price hikes and the state witnessed the lowest price rise in the country, Balagopal said.
Petrol and diesel prices will be increased by Rs 2 per litre in Kerala, said the finance minister.
The minister said that the Centre's assistance to the state has been reduced and a financial crunch is expected this year.
The finance minister further said though the State government is facing challenges due to the Central government's financial policies, Kerala is not in debt and that State has the financial position to take more loans.
The budget allocated Rs 3,400 crore to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
The Finance Minister announced a special Research and Development budget as part of the thrust towards creating a knowledge economy. Balagopal said the State has been making efforts to retain the youth in the State and minimise their migration to other countries.
The minister said that Rs 1,000 crore will be allocated for the 'Make in Kerala' during the project period. Moreover, Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for next year.
The State budget allocated Rs 300 crore for waterway development and Rs 133 crore has been allocated for the development of 1,933 km of highways in Kerala. Further, Rs 10 crore has been allocated for implementing 'work from home' model in the tourism sector.
The cess at the rate of Rs 20 for one litre of Indian-made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), priced between Rs 500 to Rs 999 and Rs 40 on IMFL priced above Rs 1,000.
Balagopal said that the government has identified 64,006 extremely poor families in the state and the government has prioritised poverty eradication in the budget.
On Thursday Balagopal presented the pre-budget economic survey for FY 2021-2022 in the state assembly. (ANI)