The Kerala budget for 2014-15 presented in the Assembly by Finance Minister K.M. Mani on Friday proposes several initiatives that will enthuse farmers, besides fresh imposts to mobilise an additional revenue of Rs. 1,556.35 crore during the year.

The additional revenue will come mainly from levies on liquor (Rs.400 crore), motor vehicles (Rs. 145.34 crore), rock-crusher and manufactured sand industry (Rs. 140 crore), high-end textile retail shops (Rs. 100 crore), paper lotteries (Rs. 100 crore), and edible oil other than coconut oil (Rs. 80 crore). Stamp duty on registration is proposed to be increased/rationalised across the board to raise Rs. 100 crore additionally.

The proposed levies also touch the hitherto-untouched subjects such as branded multinational restaurants (presently enjoying rates applicable to ordinary restaurants) and service apartments.

The Budget estimates a revenue deficit of Rs. 7,131.69 crore, with the revenue expenses expected to reach the level of Rs. 71,974.04 crore against expected revenue receipts of Rs. 64,842.35 crore.

New initiatives include measures to promote high-tech farming with loans and subsidies (Rs. 200 crore), an income guarantee scheme for farmers with the government bearing 90 per cent of the insurance premium (Rs. 50 crore), health insurance scheme for farmers with 50 per cent government subsidy on the insurance premium (Rs. 50 crore), a scheme to take over debts reaching up to Rs. 50,000 left behind by poor farmers who die leaving their families without support (Rs. 25 crore), water conservation initiatives (Rs.100 crore) and subsidised supply of kerosene to traditional fishermen (Rs. 100 crore).

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