Finance Minister K.M. Mani told the Assembly on Thursday that the tax and non-tax fiscal performance of the government improved in the past five months compared to the corresponding period last year.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Agriculture Income Tax and Sales Tax and Housing, the Minister said revenues from value-added tax (VAT) had jumped by 21 per cent to reach Rs.3,920 crore.

Collection from checkpoints had increased by eight per cent during the five months compared to the corresponding period last year.

Mr. Mani said an integrated check post had started functioning at Amaravila. Integrated check posts would be started at Walayar and Muthanga upon completion of land acquisition.

As many as 3,362 street surveys and VAT registration drives had been undertaken to prevent tax evasion. Sale of lottery from other States in Kerala had practically ended with a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into their operations.

He said two Assistant Commissioners had been suspended in connection with the raid on Nano Excel offices in Thrissur and compounding of the offences by collecting a penalty.

The government was ready to order a vigilance inquiry into the allegation that Rs.1.5 crore was taken as bribe in the case.

The Minister said an arrangement had been worked out with the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco) during his recent trip to New Delhi on the default of a loan of Rs.849 crore availed from Hudco by the State Housing Board.

Hudco had agreed to reschedule the loan if Rs.280 crore, including interest was paid.

Of this, Rs.10 crore had already been paid as interest. The default had landed the board in a crisis.

He said the board would take up rental housing schemes at Kuttanallur, Thrissur, and Kozhikode and build quarters for government employees in Kasaragod and Devikulam.