Displeasure continues? Governor yet to sign finance dept's bill on liquor tax hike

Kerala finance minister KN Balagopal

Thiruvananthapuram: As the seventh session of the 15th Kerala Legislative Assembly is set to begin on Monday, governor Arif Mohammed Khan is yet to sign a draft Bill from the finance department.

Kerala General Sales Tax (Amendment) Bill which aims to increase by four per cent the state GST on foreign liquor to make up for the loss of revenue due to exemption of the five per cent turnover tax levied on distilleries making and selling foreign liquor in the state is still pending before the governor.

UDF, which is likely to oppose them in the House, has sharply criticised the Bill.

Because it involves taxes, the governor has to approve the bill before it can be tabled in the Assembly.

As the governor has not made any comments about the bill so far, the government hopes he will give his assent soon. It may be recalled that governor Khan had “withdrawn the pleasure” for finance minister KN Balagopal to continue in the office earlier, leaning on the "pleasure doctrine." However, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan refused to act on the move of the governor. Khan eventually said that he has no power to remove ministers.

The bill to regularise the retirement age of employees of the Kerala High Court, which was sent along with the finance department’s bill, has already been approved.

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