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Kerala budget leaked on social media, claims Oppn

March 03, 2017 16:15 IST

Kerala assembly on Friday witnessed uproarious scenes during budget presentation with Congress-led opposition staging a walk out alleging leakage of the document in the social media.

The budget, presented by Finance Minister Thomas Issac, focused on infrastructure development, strengthening of social welfare measures, steps to enhance safety of women, giving impetus to public education and health. It is the second budget by the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF after it came to power last year.

Trouble started as the nearly three-hour-long budget presentation reached its final stages, when Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala stood up and waved a set of papers alleging that the budget proposal was already available in social media even before being presented.

Taken aback by the sudden development Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said budget details have not been leaked. But he assured the Opposition that their charge would be looked into.

"When budget is being presented, what has already been tabled, it might have come in the social media and other media. We will examine what has happened", he said.

Intervening on the matter, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan said, "It is serious issue and we will look into it and make statement in the House later".

Cutting short the presentation due to opposition sloganeering, Finance Minister Issac said "I have not seen what has come in the social media. I cannot give a reply without knowing what has happened".

Seizing of the matter, Chennithala said the budget has been "leaked and its sanctity lost".

He also alleged that the papers have been leaked from Finance Minister's office itself as "he is very active in social media."

UDF Opposition members, Kerala Congress(M) led by former Finance Minister K M Mani and lone BJP member O Rajagopal walked out of the House in protest against the alleged leak.

The budget, presented for the year 2017-18, showed a total revenue of Rs 93,584.74 crore and revenue expenditure of Rs 10,96,27.88 crore.

Thomas Isaac said Kerala was fully ready to implement GST, which was "advantageous" to the state.

The state GST law would be passed in the assembly session to be convened next month for passing the budget and the demand for grants, he said.

The budget proposed an infrastructure investment worth Rs 25,000 crore and said "it will be the highest investment project in the history of Kerala.

Isaac, while giving details of the economic slowdown felt due to the demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500, said "this investment will be the most effective defence against the recession during the period of demonetisation."

In tune with the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF's election manifesto, the budget unveiled different schemes for improving basic amenities of public schools in the state.

Another major initiative in the social sector was the proposal to provide free-internent connection to 20 lakh poor households.

Admitting that there was a spurt in the prices of essential commodities especially rice due to the implementation of National Food Security Act, Isaac said a total of Rs 900 crore was earmarked for ration subsidy and Rs 700 crore for paddy procurement.

The budget, presented for the year 2017-18, showed a total revenue of Rs 93,584.74 crore and revenue expenditure of Rs 10,96,27.88 crore. About one lakh houses would be built for homeless people during 2018.

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