Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio, set a record of sorts on Friday by presenting his 13th state Budget and the sixth in a row. He presented a total Budget of Rs 2,09,181 crore, which was 12.12 percent more than the Budget estimate for 2017-18.
The Budget has been presented just months ahead of Assembly elections to be held in the state.
Outreach to farmers
Stating that the government is committed to the empowerment of farmers, Siddaramaiah said that the government has allotted Rs 5,849 crore for the department of agriculture. The government has allocated 20 percent of the budget for agriculture and rural development. The agriculture budget outlay for 2018-19 has increased from Rs 5,080 crore in the previous year.
A significant part of the Budget speech was reserved for agriculture, as the chief minister announced the Raita Belaku scheme, which seeks to provide guaranteed income for dry land farmers of Rs 5,000-10,000 per hectare per year. Siddaramaiah also announced that farmers can now avail of loans of up to Rs 10 lakh at an interest rate of 3 percent.
Launching Raita Belaku to empower 70 lakh dry land farmers across Karnataka with economic independence! This will be the nation’s biggest programme in terms of area covered & no. of farmers impacted. #NavaKarnatakaBudget2018 pic.twitter.com/9u36LTa4GP
— CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) February 16, 2018
Health and education While education has received 12 percent of the total Budget outlay, social welfare has received 9 percent and health has received 4 percent. A significant announcement in the Budget was the universal health coverage scheme 'Aarogya Karnataka Yojane,' which seeks to make primary, specific secondary and tertiary treatment available to all the people of the state. It also envisages the setting up of 571 Health and Wellness Centers by upgrading the existing sub-centers.
A grant of Rs 90 crore has been made for constructing hospitals in medical colleges of Gadag, Koppal and Chamarajanagar. Siddaramaiah has said that Rs 2 crore will be allocated for the setting up of a 'Basava study centre' at the Mysore University campus. In a bid to reach out to the youth, the government has announced free bus passes for all students across Karnataka. A total of 19.6 lakh students are expected to benefit from this move. The Budget also announced free gas connections to 30 lakh beneficiaries with an expenditure of Rs 1,350 crore.
The allocations to the health sector come in the context of Siddaramaiah's recent Twitter spats with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, in which he made references to the state's human development indices.
Facelift for Bengaluru, other urban areas As per the Budget, steps are being taken to reserve 2,000 acres in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike for implementing housing programmes. Considering the city's notorious traffic snarls, the government has announced a number of steps, including constructing grade separators at important junctions, construction of multi-storeyed parking lots on public-private partnership basis and development of 250 kilometres of footpaths. Further, Siddaramaiah also announced that Phase 3 of the Bengaluru metro will be launched soon.
DPR for #NammaMetro Phase 3 will be launched soon, taking the total length to 266 kms. Upon completion, Namma Metro will become a ring rail network in the city. #NavaKarnatakaBudget2018 #NavaKarnatakaNirmana pic.twitter.com/2nxzLcE5SP — CM of Karnataka (@CMofKarnataka) February 16, 2018
With a view to undertake development work under the Smart City project, the state government plans to constitute a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in which the Central grant and state's share will be Rs 500 crore each.
If the government acts on promises made in the Budget, cities in Karnataka may soon get LED street lights which will replace the existing ones. While the first phase of the scheme is slated to cover city municipal corporations and municipal councils, the second phase will cover town municipal councils and town panchayats.
With inputs from IANS
Updated Date: Feb 16, 2018 17:56 PM