Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 8 (BPNS)
Brushing aside the rumors that a reconsideration will be made on the tax proposals made in the State Budget 2023-24, state finance minister KN Balagopal stated in the Assembly that the proposals will stand. According to him, no change will be made to the plan for additional fund mobilization. At the same time, the Opposition, which staged a walk-out, told the media that it will continue its protest against the proposals including fuel cess inside and outside the Assembly.
“It is out of some media reports that the Opposition started a protest. The reports were that the government might lessen the fuel cess to Rs 1. They are not seeing the good things in the budget,” said Balagopal.
In his reply to the budget debate, Balagopal said that it will be difficult for the state to move forward without increasing taxes.
“It (tax reforms) was a necessity. It will ensure the security of more than 60 lakh families. The progress of Kerala could also be ensured through this,” said Balagopal.
Meanwhile, the finance minister announced Rs 10 crore for Turkey, which has been ravaged by an earthquake and added that the Kerala government would consult the Central government for disbursing the said amount.
At the same time, Leader of the Opposition VD Satheesan said that the tax reforms will only help to derail the state’s economy. Mentioning the state’s tax collection as pathetic, Satheesan said that it was because of that negligence that the state’s finances had tumbled.
With the government making its stance clear that it is not going for any relaxations in the proposals for fund mobilization, the fate of the hunger strike by four Opposition MLAs in front of the Assembly complex hangs in balance.