Says Budget has made allocations for market intervention
Finance Minister K.M. Mani has dispelled apprehensions that a few proposals in the State Budget for 2014-15 will trigger an increase in the prices of essential commodities. At a reception accorded to him by the United Democratic Front (UDF) district committee here on Saturday, Mr. Mani said that allocations had been made for market intervention to control the price rise.
“An allocation of Rs. 65 crore has been made to the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) for effective market intervention. An allocation of Rs. 11 crore has been made for Kerala State Cooperative Consumers’ Federation Ltd. (Consumerfed) specifically for the purpose. This was in addition to the allocation made for Consumerfed for other activities,” he said.
He said claims that the Budget would facilitate price rise were intended to mislead the public. The prime cause of price rise was the increase in various taxes, including excise, being levied by the Union government.
Mr. Mani clarified that he was willing to consider “with an open mind” the demand by autorickshaw and taxi drivers to withdraw the increase in tax. He had announced an increase in the lumpsum tax levied for five years from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 in the Budget. He was of the opinion that the apprehensions raised on the issue were “uncalled-for.”
“Currently, taxes of Rs. 1.32 and Rs. 1.42 were being levied daily for autorickshaws that run on petrol and diesel. The different rates have been unified as Rs. 1.37 per day. In effect, only 5 paise have been hiked for those possessing petrol autorickshaws,” he said. Nevertheless, he said the decision could be modified, if found necessary, after discussions on the Budget in the Assembly. He was of the opinion that all sections of society stood to benefit from the budgetary allocations. He said agriculture was provided the greatest prominence to provided an increased focus to the sector
Keywords: Kerala budget,