Thiruvananthapuram: RSP has staked claim to contest the Aruvikkara seat which fell vacant after the demise of G Karthikeyan.
Former state secretary V P Ramakrishna Pillai told mediapersons here on Saturday that the party has close links with Aruvikkara.

The Kerala Assembly witnessed unprecedented violence on Friday as Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) members tried to prevent Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who faces bribery charges in connection with the bar licence row, from presenting the 2015-2016 budget.

Roads leading to the legislature turned into a war zone with LDF activists fighting pitched battles with the police, setting fire to a police van and government vehicles and throwing stones.

Inside the House, Mr. Mani presented the budget, showing a cumulative deficit of Rs. 848 crore and announcing taxation proposals that could push up prices of many essentials.

The budget speech, 140 pages in print, lasted just six minutes as Opposition members, who had occupied the Speaker’s dais from early morning, jostled with the watch and ward staff to get close to him and almost came to blows with their treasury bench counterparts in a bid to break the security cover around the Finance Minister.

As many as nine Opposition MLAs were admitted to hospital after some collapsed and others complained of exhaustion. Twelve watch and ward staff were also admitted to hospital with minor injuries.

Meeting shortly after the dispersal of the House, the LDF leadership announced a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday to protest ‘the attack’ on Opposition MLAs and the lathi-charge on activists.

 

Finance Minister K.M. Mani has provided a sum of Rs.1,467.20 crore for augmenting power generation through various means in the State.

A sum of Rs.15 crore has been provided for the Senkulam augmentation scheme scheduled to be commissioned in February 2016, Mr. Mani said while presenting the budget on Friday.

A sum of Rs.1 crore has been earmarked for setting up a KSEB-KSIDC joint venture coal-based power plant at Cheemeni, and Rs.50 lakh for the preliminary work for establishing a pet coke-based power plant in Ernakulam.

A sum of Rs.20 crore has been set apart for the Chethan Kotta small hydroelectric project proposed to be commissioned in October, Rs.1 crore for the hydroelectric projects at Peruvannamuzhi and Upper Senkulam, and Rs.59 crore for gas-based power plants.

A sum of Rs.1.08 crore has been set apart for the Kerala State Energy Conservation Fund for implementing energy audit recommendations.

For industries

The annual Plan allocation for the industries sector has been pegged at Rs.582.20 crore. The focus will be on new initiatives for developing entrepreneurship. A sum of Rs.3 crore has been earmarked for establishing common facility centres for cluster development activities in the small-scale industries sector. Three business incubation centres will be set up for coordinating entrepreneur promotion activities, for which Rs.50 lakh has been set apart. Trade facilitation centres have been proposed in select district industries centres.

The government will establish a petrochemical park in Kochi. A sum of Rs.3.5 crore has been earmarked for establishing a medical devices incubation centre at Rs.12 crore in collaboration with the Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology. The allocation for development of coir sector is Rs.116.95 crore.

 

The Kerala Assembly witnessed unprecedented violence on Friday as Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) members tried to prevent Finance Minister K.M. Mani, who faces bribery charges in connection with the bar licence row, from presenting the 2015-2016 budget.

Roads leading to the legislature turned into a war zone with LDF activists fighting pitched battles with the police, setting fire to a police van and government vehicles and throwing stones.

Inside the House, Mr. Mani presented the budget, showing a cumulative deficit of Rs. 848 crore and announcing taxation proposals that could push up prices of many essentials.

The budget speech, 140 pages in print, lasted just six minutes as Opposition members, who had occupied the Speaker’s dais from early morning, jostled with the watch and ward staff to get close to him and almost came to blows with their treasury bench counterparts in a bid to break the security cover around the Finance Minister.

As many as nine Opposition MLAs were admitted to hospital after some collapsed and others complained of exhaustion. Twelve watch and ward staff were also admitted to hospital with minor injuries.

Meeting shortly after the dispersal of the House, the LDF leadership announced a dawn-to-dusk hartal on Saturday to protest ‘the attack’ on Opposition MLAs and the lathi-charge on activists.

12 legislators, 20 watch and ward staff hospitalised

Peace reigned in the Assembly till the stroke of 9 a.m., but what followed was an hour of violence and vandalism involving an aggressive Opposition bent on thwarting Finance Minister K.M. Mani’s bid to present the 2015-16 budget and treasury bench members throwing a security cover around him.

The Opposition members moved up the Speaker’s podium some 15 minutes before the scheduled time of commencement of the sitting and blocked the door through which the Speaker normally enters the House. The Opposition members soon began indulging in violence and vandalism. K. Kunhammad [CPI(M)] ripped off the Speaker’s microphone and tore off the papers on the Speaker’s table. The computer on the table also became the target of attack.

Threats and blockade

V. Sivankutty [CPI(M)] pulled out the lamp and E.P. Jayarajan [CPI(M)] threw the Speaker’s chair out of the podium. C. Divakaran (CPI) was seen threatening the watch and ward guarding the Speaker’s entrance to the podium. Even as this happened, CPI(M) members Elamaram Karim, T.M. Thomas Isaac, and G. Sudhakaran occupied one of the flights to the podium from the House. They were engaged in pushing and pulling with the security guards and Dr. Isaac fell backward.

Around 8.55 a.m., Mr. Mani entered the House through one of the back entrances, taking the Opposition members by surprise. Instead of occupying his seat on the front row, Mr. Mani occupied a seat on the second row normally occupied by Cooperation Minister C.N. Balakrishnan, which, it was later explained by Speaker N. Sakthan, was reallocated to him in view of the Opposition bid to block his speech.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani on Friday presented his 13th budget amid unprecedented scenes, proposing new taxes on food articles and petroleum products to mop up an additional Rs 1,220 crore revenue for Congress-led UDF government's various welfare measures.The budget for 2015-16 slapped 1 per cent tax on packaged rice, rice products and wheat, 5 percent on maida, atta, suji and rava which is expected to raise an additional revenue of Rs 110 crore. However, it continued with the exemption granted to food articles sold through Public Distribution System.

 

An additional tax of Rs 1 per litre will be imposed on petrol and diesel. An additional revenue of Rs 375 crore is expected from this, he said.

"The additional amount received from it will be used for constructing buildings for the weaker sections of the society who do not have an independent dwelling house," Mani said in his speech, which was read out only for ten minutes.

The budget also brought in the tax net all multi-level marketing companies.

Cocount oil and sugar would attract a tax of 1 percent and 2 percent respectively to mop up a total amount of Rs 150 crore, while a 14.5 percent tax on tobacco products and beedi would bring in Rs 15 crore revenue.

Prices of brooms, brushes and mops, made of plastic used for cleaning of floors and toilets, would go up in the state with a new tax of five per cent being imposed.

As a measure to tackle the tax drain in sale of live chicken, 1 per cent tax would be imposed on poultry feed.

The budget also rationalised tax rate of stamp duty, registration fee and tax on two wheelers.

To help rubber growers in the state, reeling under fall in the price of natural rubber, the budget proposed a price stabilisation fund. It also exempted rubber wood from taxes.

For rural economic development, Rs 403.18 crore has been earmarked for rejuvenation of agriculture sector.

Laying thrust on infrastructure development, the budget proposed to mobilise Rs 25,000 crore through Kerala Infrastructure Fund Board and also earmarked Rs 2,000 crore for major projects. While Vizhinjam sea-port project will get Rs 600 crore, Kochi Metro will get Rs 940 crore.

The House witnessed unruly scenes as CPI-M-led LDF members continued their protests demanding Mani's resignation over the bar bribery issue. 

Some other welfare measures proposed in the budget include housing for all, a boost for entrepreneurs and more funds for start-up village.

About Rs 12 crore has been allotted in the budget for the start-up village, Rs 14 crore for young entrepreneurs and Rs 5 crore for student entrepreneurs.

In view of the Centre's decision to set up an IIT at Palakkad, the budget earmarked Rs 50 crore for land acquisition and providing infrastructure.

"In 2010-11 before the UDF Government assumed office, the outlay on all welfare schemes and pensions was Rs 484.14 crore. In the current year, the revised estimates for welfare measures now amount to a sum of Rs 2,710 crore. This reflects an increase of nearly 600 per cent and symbolizes the philosophy of this government that reverberates in its motto," Mani said.

In a women friendly move, a job bank by name 'She Bank' will be formed with skilled and trained women.

"International Women's' Conference will be held in Thiruvananthapuram in November 2015. Text Books will be supplied free to girl students of Plus One and Plus Two Classes of Government and Aided Schools. An allocation of Rs three crore is made for these Projects," Mani said.

The budget showed a revenue estimate of Rs 77,427.20 crore as against the revenue expenditure of Rs 85,259.12 crore.