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Differences in Kerala ruling front over budget announcement

The CPM is trying to justify the budget proposal as a measure to help the plantations sector which was facing crisis owing to a fall in price
Last Updated : 13 March 2022, 13:59 IST

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An announcement in the Kerala Budget to allow more types of crops in plantations has triggered a political row within the ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala.

CPM, which is the second-largest party in the left front, expressed concerns that the proposal to allow new varieties of crops in plantations may lead to dilution of the land reforms laws of Kerala. Hence, such matters involving policy changes need to be discussed within the front, the CPM maintained.

Finance Minister K N Balagopal said in the budget presented on Friday that in addition to rubber, coffee and tea, which are already included in the extent of the definition of the plantation, new crops need to be included. "Plantation laws are to be updated by bringing relevant amendments to include pomiculture. The objectives of the land reform act need to be preserved," he said.

As per the land reforms implemented by the left front government in Kerala during the 1960s, plantations were exempted from the ceiling on maximum land individuals can possess. Hence, allowing relaxations in the types of crops in plantations was triggering a row. Apart from the CPM, many rights activists also expressed concerns over the move as they fear that it would dilute the land reforms laws of Kerala.

Expressing his resentment, CPM state secretary Kanam Rajendran told reporters that "The LDF had not made any decision to amend the land reforms laws. CPM's stand would be made clear when any such discussions come up."

The CPM is trying to justify the budget proposal as a measure to help the plantations sector which was facing crisis owing to a fall in price. The proposal to allow more crops were also learnt to be included considering the representation of plantation owners.

The Finance Minister said that even if new crops would be allowed the basic aim of the land reforms laws of Kerala would be protected.

The differences within the ruling front over the budget provisions might be raised by the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front during the discussions on the budget in the Assembly in the coming days.

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Published 13 March 2022, 13:16 IST

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