Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has said the State government will not allow itself to be bogged down by worries about the rising revenue deficit or allow it to stand in the way of expenditure committed for welfare and development.
Participating in a ‘meet-the-press' programme at the Press Club here on Saturday, the Finance Minister said the government was determined to honour all the commitments made in the budget for 2010-11. Personally, he was of the view that 13th Finance Commission's conclusions about the State finances did not matter much as the State could not evade its commitments and the commission itself had not been too charitable towards Kerala.
The judicial validity of the Finance Commission award itself needed to be questioned and he proposed to submit a note to the LDF State committee on the subject.
Dr. Isaac said that in his perception, the most noteworthy aspect of the budget that he presented in the Assembly on Friday was the absence of any tax with inflationary potential and its emphasis on welfare and development without placing any additional burden on the people.
Other States cited
“It is not that we don't need money badly. But we have taken the conscious decision not to opt for that course or place additional tax burden on the people,” he said and pointed out that in Karnataka, where also the 2010-'11 budget was presented on Friday, VAT rates had been increased from 12.5 to 13.50 per cent on goods on which Central Sales Tax used to be levied earlier.
Andhra Pradesh had gone in for a hike from 12.5 to 14.5 per cent, Rajasthan from 12.5 to 14 per cent and Gujarat from 12.5 to 15 per cent following compulsion from the Centre, he added.