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Kerala budget 2023: Petrol, diesel & liquor to cost more; Oppn fumes

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 3 (IANS) Kerala Finance Minister K.N.Balagopal on Friday presented the Pinarayi Vijayan 2.0 government’s second budget proposing a Rs 2 cess on petrol and diesel in addition to a Rs 20 hike on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL).

Not only has it proposed a hike in property taxes, but also levied an additional tax on those who own a second home and on all homes that are kept locked.

Another hike has come in the taxes for new vehicles, registration of land and also fees charged for government services. Besides, the judicial fee will also be increased.

Denouncing the increased taxes, the Congress-led Opposition termed the budget a “tool” to loot the people and announced to launch a massive protest against it.

Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan called it a daylight dacoity signalled through the budget.

“At no cost will we allow this indiscriminate hiking of taxes and cess on petrol and diesel. We are going to launch an indefinite state-wide protest till the government rolls back the hikes as this budget will surely break the spine of the man on the street.”

A tippler, reacting to the hike in liquor price, said from now on three pegs daily, the consumption will have to be halved.

At the commercial capital of the state – Kochi, the Congress workers staged a protest and burnt the copies of the budget against the Rs 2 cess on petrol and diesel.

However, Balagopal defended the hike in taxes and said the only way to raise additional resources is to increase the price of liquor and through the cess on petrol and diesel.

“The Centre has reduced the borrowing of our government by around Rs 2,700 crore and the only way to go forward is to hike the tax on petrol, diesel and liquor,” he said.

As soon as the budget presentation was over, the Opposition rose to protest and raised slogans demanding the immediate withdrawal of hike in taxes as it will lead to huge price rise.

Satheesan, while inaugurating a protest march in front of a petrol pump at Kollam, said the burden on the man on the street due to these hiked taxes will come to Rs 4000 crore.

“This hike comes at a time when the Left government and their leaders are always up in arms demanding the reduction of fuel prices. Likewise, the hike in liquor prices will lead to an increase in the consumption of drugs. The coming days will see more protests,” warned Satheesan.