Kerala hikes water tariff, taxes on liquor, tobacco

Kerala hikes water tariff, taxes on liquor, tobaccoThiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government Wednesday hiked taxes on liquor and tobacco products, and water charges, land registration and stamp duty in a bid to tide over a financial crunch.

Also, the state cabinet ministers will take a 20 percent cut in salary till the end of this fiscal, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

“Contrary to news reports, there is not going to be any freeze on recruitments to government jobs. We do have financial constraints and to deal with that we have increased the taxes and mind you, this is not going to affect the ordinary man,” said Chandy to reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting here.

“Liquor is not an essential commodity nor is it a fundamental right. Every time we get a request to increase the tax on tobacco products to 50 percent but we have not done that because in neighbouring states it has a tax of 22 percent. This time we have decided to increase to 30 percent,” said Chandy.

He said a high level committee has been formed to initiate steps to raise funds from financial markets.

State CPI-M secretary Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters that the tax hike is a blow on the people.

“We will not allow this to happen and we will organise protests by organising the people against this anti-people policy of the Chandy government,” said Vijayan.


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