Kerala budget hikes levy on liquor, pan masala

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Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 8: In its first budget since coming to power, the Congress-led UDF government in Kerala today (Jul 7) increased levies on liquor, pan masala, luxury cars and buildings but spared the common man of any heavy burden.

The revised budget for 2011-12 presented by Finance Minister K M Mani in the state assembly increased all social security and workers pensions from Rs 300 to Rs 400 and unveiled a slew of welfare measures targeting various segments including farmers, farm workers and fishing community.

The budget sought to mobilise an additional revenue of Rs 600 crore through various imposts.

Voicing concern over alarming increase in liquor consumption in Kerala, Mani increased social security cess on liquor from 1 per cent to 6 per cent, expecting an additional revenue of Rs 135 crore and also reintroduced the surcharge of 10 per cent on Indian Manufactured Foreign Liquor targeting to a net Rs 192 crore.

The tax on pan masala and tobacco products was raised to 20 per cent, expecting to mobilise Rs 5 crore. Another source of additional revenue was from the state lotteries which will have daily draws instead of weekly draws, expected to yield Rs 263 crore to the state exchequer.

The budget slapped a cess of 2 per cent on tax of luxury cars and a 2 per cent cess would be collected from building tax on constructions that exceeded 4,000 sq ft.

In a relief to all sections, the registration fee on partition deeds of family properties had been fixed at the rate of Rs 1,000, doing away with the value-based fee system.

A comprehensive health insurance scheme for BPL sections with government bearing the premium amount allowing the beneficiaries to take treatment both in government and private hospitals was also announced.

PTI

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