Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala`s Congress-led
UDF government on Monday proposed to mobilise Rs 1,512.05 crore as
additional resources taxing tobacco products, liquor, motor
vehicles and plastic bags to back up a set of infrastructure
and welfare projects in 2012-13.
In his Budget presented in the Assembly, Finance Minister
K M Mani brought cheer to nearly five lakh government
employees and teachers by raising retirement age from 55 to 56
years, which led to vociferous protests by opposition
LDF members sat in the well of the House and kept
chanting slogans, alleging that vital Budget proposals,
including raising pension age, had already been carried by a
section of the press which amounted to `compromising` the
secrecy of Budget.
The Budget effected a general hike of one per cent in VAT
on a variety of items while sharply reducing levy on
essentials like pulses, chilly, edible oils and flour from
four to one per cent. The Budget also exempted these items
from the one per cent social security cess.
The Finance Minister anticipated an additional revenue of
Rs 1,000 crore through rationalisation of VAT itself.
The Budget sharply increased tax on tobacco products,
except beedi, from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent, social
security cess on foreign liquor from 6 to 10 per cent and levy
on pan masala and similar items from 20 per cent 22.5 per cent
to generate a total revenue of Rs 166 crore.
It rationalised private motor vehicle tax to make it on
par with rates in other southern states based on four price
categories of vehicles, which is expected to net Rs 115 crore.
The Budget made tax-free costly surgical items like
heart valve, cardiac stent and intra occular lense.
Entering its second year, the government effected across
the board increase in welfare pensions and identified seven
areas of development to promote infrastructure growth through
public private participation mode.
The Budget anticipated fiscal 2012-13 to close with a
deficit of Rs 289.25 crore while setting a revenue target of
Rs 48,120.34 crore and expenditure of Rs 51,605.36 crore.