Kerala FM presents Rs 3367 cr deficit budget

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Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 06: Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Issac today presented a Rs 3367 crore-deficit Budget for 2008-09 in the state Assembly, proposing one per cent cess on sales tax to mobilise Rs 100 crore for implementing welfare schemes.

The Marxist-led Left Democratic Front(LDF) Government, in an apparent step to protect the interest of small traders, also proposed a ten per cent surchage on taxes for retail majors having an annual turn over of more than Rs five crore. Meanwhile, the government recognised a long-pending demand of the aviation industry to reduce the tax on aviation turbine fuel to four per cent.

While paper bags would be totally exempted from the tax net, the tax on plastic carrybags would go up to 12.5 per cent.

The prices of generators, hospital equipment, computer peripherals, used cars, machine tools, cycle parts, printing press, handloom and certain other item would come down.

As per the budget estimates, the total recenue receipts was Rs 24936 crore and the revenue expenditure- Rs 28303 crore, leaving a revenue deficit of Rs 3367 crore. The year-end deficit was projected to be Rs 627 crore.
Dr Issac said mobile phone recharge coupens would be exempted from VAT with effect from April one, 2005. Similarly, the amount collected through copy right and right to use in film industry would be exempted from the tax. The Minister said a ten per cent luxury charge would be introduced for hospital rooms with a daily rent of Rs 1,000 or more, expecting an additional revenue of Rs one crore.

The tax on paper lottery draw would be Rs seven lakh and that of the bumber lotteries would be Rs 17 crore. A sum of Rs 25 crore was expected through this steps.

The Minister said an amnesty scheme would be introduced to collect arrers of tax amounting to Rs 4,280 crore. This would enable the government for speedy recovery of sales tax arrers.

He said the commercial taxes department would be computerised to streamline the process.

Dr Issac also termed as baseless the argument that Kerala was in a debt-trap, saying that the debt burden of the state that was 317 per cent of the revenue receipt during 2003-04 had come down to 274 per cent now. The tax collection also registered a good growth druing the period.

UNI

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