Plantation tax slashed from Rs. 700 to Rs. 500 a hectare

PlantationsThiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced in the Assembly on Wednesday that the plantation tax would be reduced from Rs. 700 to Rs. 500 a hectare.

Winding up discussion on the Budget for next year, the Chief Minister recalled that he had already announced that the agriculture income tax would be brought down to 30 per cent. However, none would have to pay the tax during the year.

Mr. Chandy made a correction that the additional resource mobilisation proposed for the coming year was only Rs. 12 and not Rs. 112 crores as stated in the Budget Speech.

Noting that traders, who observed a harthal yesterday, had expressed concerns about shop inspections, the Chief Minister said that inspections would be limited to files on which information about tax evasion had been received and files selected centrally on the basis of analysis of computer data.

He said that the 20 per cent tax announced on plastic carry bags would not apply to packing materials. The turnover limit for traders liable to pay presumptive tax would be raised from Rs. 60 lakh to Rs. 70 lakh annually.

The Chief Minister said that the tax on branded bakery products is 12.5 per cent. However, some bakery owners had remitted only four or five per cent tax owing to certain confusions. They would be allowed to remit the balance without interest and fine.

Mr. Chandy announced that contract and daily wage workers in government service would be given the minimum scale applicable to permanent employees in equivalent posts so as to ensure a decent living standard to them. They would also get an annual increase based on consumer price index. An additional expenditure of Rs. 135 crore was anticipated for this measure.