Friday, February 19, 2010

Kerala will lose Rs.20 crore of revenue envisaged in the Budget

Kerala will lose Rs.20 crore of revenue envisaged in the Budget for the current year owing to the failure of the government in revising the rents on revenue and forest leases.

Various plantations and others holding lands leased from the government paid only nominal rent for years though the Assembly had passed a Bill to revise the rent as way back as 1980. The rents ranged from Rs.1.50 an acre to Rs.5 an acre for most of the land leased out by the erstwhile Travancore and Cochin governments, and up to Rs.250 in cases where the leases had been renewed.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac had proposed a formula to determine the revised rent: Rs.1,300 for lease exceeding 100 acre; Rs.1,000 for lease of 25 to 100 acres; and Rs.750 for lease below 25 acres.

However, this was not implemented. Instead, the Forest Department issued a notification in November last amending the rules notified under the Kerala Grants and Leases (Modification of Rights) Act. (The Department had initially shelved its plans to issue the notification on the ground that the Finance Department would issue necessary notification. The Forest Department’s notification will not cover all the revenue leases.)

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