Budget 2018: Kerala seeks a pie of sops

The state can benefit from transport infrastructure such as roads, waterways and new rail lines which require huge investments.

Published: 01st February 2018 01:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2018 04:40 AM   |  A+A-

Palakkad MP MB Rajesh (File)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As Finance Minister Arun Jaitley makes his last full budget before the crucial general election next year, the state pins hopes on getting a fair share in the major announcements on Thursday. If the Economic Survey released on Monday were an indication, the budget would focus on attracting investments. “To attract private investments the government will have to step up its spend on infrastructure, even if it is against fiscal prudence,” M B Rajesh MP said on Wednesday. 

The state can benefit from transport infrastructure such as roads, waterways and new rail lines which require huge investments. The Thalassery-Mysuru rail line that requires close to Rs 5,000 crore, the Sabari railway line that require Rs 2,815 crore and the National Waterways project are some of the projects that could find favourable fund allocation. 

However, the Palakkad MP would not see any positive signal coming out from North Block on the rail coach factory at Kanjikode. According to Rajesh,  the political setback received by the BJP in rural Gujarat at the recently held Assembly elections would make the party consider extending sops to the agriculture sector. Kerala government, which has been complaining about the cold attitude of the Centre in promoting job guarantee schemes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), would see its revival with a favourable allocation.

Budget in GST Era
According to experts, the budget has lost sheen after the implementation of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) which changed the indirect tax regime. “Post-GST the financial powers of Parliament have reduced and they have been taken over by the GST council which is an executive body. Besides that, I do not see any major announcement coming from the budget, considering the weak economic picture we are getting,” said Premachandran. He said the government would enhance the income tax limit after the increase in tax base. 

The rise in international crude oil prices would further tighten the hands of the government in doling our sops, said N K Premachandran MP. He said the Central Government had a moral obligation to reduce the excise duty on fuel.The Economic Survey points at the need to boost employment generation and the budget would focus on labour intensive sectors. Cashew and coir which form the traditional industries of the state would find it favourable. Kollam MP N K Premachandran said he had already made a submission for scrapping the 5 percent import duty on raw cashew. According to him a comprehensive cashew package would help in the revival of industry.


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