City residents feel that hike in sales tax will lead to prices going up

The State budget has further burdened the common man with increase in VAT, said K. P. Venkateshwaran, former bureaucrat residing in the city. Already the Union budget and the Railway budgets have set the ball rolling for a price rise, he said.

If the increase in the road tax rate for private vehicles is reflected in the road maintenance, then it can beneficial for the common man, said Mr. Venkateshwaran. There is no point in emulating the neighbouring States in collection of tax if the conditions of roads are not improved, he added.

Nandini T., a public sector employee, said that hike in sales tax will lead to rise in household expenses as it is not just rice, moog and gram that one has to buy. Increase in the rates for cement and crushed granites would affect those who are planning to build or buy houses, she said.

There is nothing for the common man as it will be an all-round price rise, said K. Vijayachandran, former chairman of KSIDC. He said that it is high time the road tax was increased, but how these are going to be utilised is yet another matter, he said.

He said that the budget was full of proposals that can actually be done by various departments. The Minister of Finance had taken up their jobs without revealing the real state of the State's finances. The budget statement should have been a vision statement, he added.

N. P. Satheesh, a functionary of Kochi City Action Force, said that increasing the sales tax is only going to burden the ordinary man. With no good roads, increasing the road tax is rather absurd, he added. Increasing the age of pension will affect a lot of young people, said Mr. Satheesh.

K.D. Binu, ranked 100 in the PSC list for English lecturers, said that it amounted to “callous and unfair” treatment of educated youth by the State government. He felt that the two-pronged move will result in loss of opportunities in PSC lists valid till the end of this year, which would have been otherwise extended up to March next year when the unification of retirement age was in place. The government should enhance the validity of the existing rank lists by a year to avoid this, Mr. Binu said.

On the increase in the pension age by a year, Mr. Venkateshwaran said that one needs to see the issue objectively as how many people would be benefitted by government jobs. Besides, increasing the age to 56 years and spreading the retirement process through the year compared to 55 years and having one date for retirement does not make much difference, he said. Some people get a benefit of 10-11 months while some do not, he said.

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