ANI Photo | Kerala Budget: Chidambaram attacks ‘Faustian bargain’ of state finance minister for “…gaining wealth”

Veteran Congress leader and former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday took a jibe at the “Faustian bargain” of the state budget presented by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led government.
Chidambaram asked the state finance minister K N Balagopal to impose “notional taxes” to tackle inflation in the state.
“Dear FM, Kerala: why don’t you impose ‘notional’ taxes of Rs 2000 crore and save yourself the trouble of spending Rs 2000 crore to tackle inflation?” Chidambaram asked in a tweet.
The state Budget 2023 was tabled on Friday in the legislative assembly.
In another tweet, the Congress leader said, “Kerala FM’s arithmetic is a Faustian bargain, moral principles for gaining wealth, the FM of Kerala imposed additional taxes to raise over Rs 2000 crore and he will spend Rs 2000 crore to “tackle inflation”!”
In his budget speech, finance minister stated that the Budget allocated Rs 2000 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.
The Finance Minister also informed that the petrol, and diesel prices will be increased by Rs 2 per litre in Kerala.
Balagopal said that the Centre’s assistance to the state has been reduced and a financial crunch is expected this year.

The finance minister said that though the state government is facing challenges due to the Central government’s financial policies he assured that Kerala is not in debt and that State has the financial position to take more loans.
Meanwhile, Kerala Police earlier today detained members of the Youth Congress for waving black flags outside the Ernakulam Guest House in Kochi where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan would stay for the day.
On Friday, Kerala Police used water canons to disperse Youth Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha workers protesting against the Kerala Budget outside the state secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram.
Congress Youth workers burned Kerala Budget Papers as a protest against the Vijayan government’s state budget. Congress Youth workers also showed black flags to Kerala Chief Minister as a protest against the State Budget. The BJP Yuva Morcha also staged protests against the budget outside the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram.
Leader of Opposition in Kerala Legislative Assembly VD Satheesan lashed out at the Vijayan government over the State Budget announcement and while addressing mediapersons said, “Imposing numerous taxes, the government is trying to introduce tax terrorism in the state. We are already facing a debt situation and the government is now imposing more taxes on the common man. These tax hikes have been in effect for the last six years. A new burden of Rs 4,000 crore in taxation is being put on the people.”
The Congress leader said after the flood and pandemic situation the financial health of people became very vulnerable. He further said that the people are unable to pay back their loans and banks are confiscating their properties. The inflation and price hike is at their peak and the government is trying to increase the tax even for petrol and diesel, he added.
“While we are fighting against the central government for the fuel price hike, the state government is adding more cess and burden to the life of the people in Kerala.
The fair value increased 20 per cent and the motor vehicle tax is also increased. Wherever they can make new taxation, they had done it. But the fiscal situation is very vulnerable,” Kerala LoP said.
Satheesan also said the Kerala government is trying to cover its deed by announcing new projects. “In the last budget, they also declared many projects but when we are going through the performance audit it is evident that the government failed to deliver. So there is no value and sanctity in the budget declaration,” he added.

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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