KN Balagopal presents state budget for the FY of 2023-24 | Videograb: YouTube/SabhaTV
Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Wednesday turned down the Opposition's demand to reduce the fuel cess announced in the state budget.
According to Balagopal, the Opposition staged a protest over media reports that the fuel cess will be reduced by Rs 1.
"Reducing overall expenditure does not mean evading travels abroad or buying new cars. The government cut expenditure by implementing projects practically and scientifically," said KN Balagopal during the budget discussion in the state assembly.
He dismissed protests by saying that the opposition parties in the past have always criticized the ruling fronts whenever a budget is tabled in the assembly. Kerala is in financial crisis as the union government suddenly slashed subsidies allotted to states, he reiterated.
"The tax proposals proposed in the state budget came under heavy criticism. It is worth remembering that panchayats collect the lowest taxes in India. We revised the taxes only in a timely manner. The tax on alcohol has not been increased in the last two years. Only the price of liquor above Rs 500 got hiked. A major share of the liquor sold in the state is below Rs.500," he claimed.
Balagopal refuted the claims that the government has spent Rs 42 lakh to create a cowshed in Cliff House. The money allocated for the same was also used to construct security walls, he added. He also dismissed the opposition's claim that Kerala is financially in distress.