Left-ruled Kerala calls it ‘budget for the corporates’

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 26 (Calcutta Tube) The Kerala government Friday termed the union budget 2010-11 as ‘one for the corporates’ and said it has nothing for the state to tide over the impact of the ASEAN Trade Agreement (FTA).

‘The budget sets aside Rs.200 crore for improving the beaches in Goa. There are special schemes for pulses and horticulture. Pranab Mukherjee has time and again said the centre would come to the aid of the state to tackle the ill-effects of the ASEAN FTA, but nothing is there in the budget,’ said state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac.

The FTA with the 10-member ASEAN will eliminate import tariffs on around 4,000 items.

The Marxist-led Left Democratic Front government of Kerala has been consistently demanding that the customs tariff of primary agricultural products and also of processed products like cashew kernels, tyres and coir products should be maintained at the maximum levels to protect the domestic sector.

Isaac said the budget presented by union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday will jack up the prices and growth will be affected seriously.

‘Things are going to go haywire from midnight today when the fuel prices will go up. This is a budget for the corporate sector and opening of more private sector banks is another sop for the corporates. And this was evident in the stock market with a surge in the indices of the markets,’ said Isaac.

But the budget got a thumbs up from the corporates in the state.

Vijay Govind, of the Kerala chapter of Confederation of Indian Industries, said: ‘The increased allocation for infrastructure and other sectors like education and tax benefits for new two star hotels is all going to do good for the state.’

Group of Technopark companies (GTech) said the budget is aimed at putting India back on the economic growth trajectory.

‘The proposals like changes in the income tax slabs, surcharge reduction to 7.5 percent maintaining the status quo on service tax and simplification of the refund of the accumulative credit to exporters in the IT and the BPO space are welcome. However, the increase in MAT from 15 to 18 percent will hit the mid-sized IT companies operating in the state,’ said a press release from GTech.

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