Karnataka offers a slew of reliefs with eye to polls (Lead)

February 21st, 2009 - 12:45 am ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Feb 20 (IANS) With an eye to the upcoming general elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka sought to woo all sections of the people by proposing a please-all budget for the ensuing fiscal 2009-10.
Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who also holds the finance portfolio, proposed to give away a slew of tax reliefs and other sops worth Rs.4-billion in the vote-on-account presented in the state assembly Friday.

Of the proposed total plan expenditure of Rs.295 billion (Rs.29,500 crore), the state plans to spend Rs.45.84 billion (16 percent) on urban development, including infrastructure growth of Bangalore, Rs.39.84 billion (14 percent) on irrigation projects & flood control, Rs.38.04 billon (13 percent) on transport and Rs.36.21 billion (12 percent) on energy.

“Around 35 percent of the 60-million in Karnataka reside in urban areas. With urban population increasing in comparison to the total population of the state, special attention has to be given for the development of urban areas, especially Bangalore, the IT hub of India,” Yeddyurappa told the Vidhana Soudha, the legislative assembly.

Of the funds allocated for urban development, Rs.33-billion have been earmarked for the infrastructure development of Greater Bangalore, including roads, drinking water supply, sewerage and public transport, especially metro rail network.

The state-run Karnataka State Industrial and Investment Development Corporation (KSIISDC) will implement super fast train to Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli from city, a distance of about 40 km.

Under the sectoral plan allocation for economic and social services for FY 2010, the budget has proposed to spend Rs.21.22 billion (7.19 percent) on agricultural and allied services, Rs.15.03 billion (5.1 percent) on rural development, Rs.22.98 billion (7.8 percent) on education, sport, arts & culture, and Rs.21.43 billion (7.3 percent) on the welfare of SCs and STs, OBCs and social welfare and nutrition.

“Subsidy of Rs.2.5 billion for agricultural loans at three percent interest from state-run banks, Rs.1.5-billion subsidy to farmers for getting loans from cooperative banks at three percent, Rs.7.5 billion revolving fund for providing support price to farm products and Rs.2 billion as support price for organic farming,” the chief minister pointed out.

In addition, farmers will get Rs.21 billion subsidy for electrification of pump-sets used for agriculture. The budget has also allotted Rs.1 billion for setting up horticultural produce market at Belgaum in north Karnataka under the national horticulture mission.

For rural development, Rs.3 billion will be spent on 1,200 villages across the state under the Suvarna Gramodaya programme and Rs.8 billion to develop 2,500-km rural roads in the state.

To foster the growth of science and technology and the knowledge sector, the budget proposes to spend Rs.100 million for setting up institutions of excellence in science education, Rs.100 million for setting up an IT park at Gulbarga in north Karnataka.

“About 1,000 acres of land will be allotted to the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Chitradurga district,” Yeddyurappa announced.

Though the budget has no new taxes to mobilise additional resources, it proposes to exempt food grain and pulses from value added tax (VAT).

“Persons with a monthly salary up to Rs.10,000 are exempted from professional tax. Educational institutions running schools and colleges up to 12th standard are also exempt from tax,” Yeddyurappa added.

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