Youth Congress stages protest against budget, police use water cannons to disperse protestors

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Kochi: The Youth Congress on Wednesday protested against the Kerala budget in Kochi and clashed with the police personnel who used water cannons to disperse the protestors.

The protestors have been marching to the Kanayannur Taluk office against the hike in the cess of petrol and diesel in the recently released state budget. The raging Congress workers also burnt the tyre in front of barricades placed to stop the protestors.

The police lathi-charged and used water canons against the protestors which led to a scuffle between both groups.

The Kerala government is facing a heavy backlash from the general public after they presented the budget for the financial year 2023-24 on Thursday.

The government proposed to increase petrol and diesel prices by Rs two per litre in the State.

As per people, the increase in cess on petrol and diesel will lead to a huge price hike. The prices of daily necessities have more than doubled in Kerala.

On Sunday, Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Union Minister Prakash Javdekar criticized Pinarayi Vijayan-led government for their state budget and termed it an anti-people budget.

"Kerala has presented their budget for the financial year 2023-24. Centre slashed excise duty of Rs 13 on petrol and Rs 16 on diesel last year. Kerala has reduced Rs 1 at the same time. This year, they have increased Rs two. This is the anti-people government's budget," he said while adding that his own party-led government's budget is a pro-people budget.

Earlier speaking to ANI, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also said the Kerala government's state budget is "very disappointing".

"It is an extremely disappointing budget. The Budget is unfortunately exploiting the common man. Because the government seems to have no imagination, no idea how to generate revenue," Tharoor said adding that instead of promoting more revenue-generating activities, the government is only trying to do is tax people.

"An extra cess on fuel...Rs 2 per litre for petrol and diesel. Also more primitive tax on alcohol where there is already the highest tax on alcohol in the entire country," Thiruvananthapuram MP said.

He said it is extremely important to look after the poor in this country and people who are entitled to social security pensions. He said this can be done by promoting the generation of revenue, creating opportunities for businesses and giving them a chance to make money in the state by creating an effective environment.

Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal on Thursday (February 3) presented the budget for the 2022-23 financial year in the legislative assembly. This Budget marks the third by Balagopal after he took over as the state's Finance Minister.

The Budget allocated Rs 2,000 crore to check inflation. Despite being a consumerist State Kerala was able to control price hikes and the state witnessed the lowest price rise in the country, Balagopal said.

Petrol and diesel prices will be increased by Rs 2 per litre in Kerala, said the finance minister.The minister said that the Centre's assistance to the state has been reduced and a financial crunch is expected this year.

He further added though the State government is facing challenges due to the Central government's financial policies, Kerala is not in debt and that State has the financial position to take more loans. (ANI)

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