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Tuesday, July 31, 2001

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Central team coming to study drought

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, JULY 30. The Chief Minister, Mr. S. M. Krishna, will lead an all-party delegation of MPs to the Prime Minister, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee, on August 7 to seek Central assistance to tackle drought in the State.

Mr. Krishna made this announcement while replying to the discussions on the demands for grants for 2001-2002 in the Assembly on Monday. He said he had sought an appointment with the Prime Minister and had sounded the MPs from Karnataka and ministers to join the delegation.

Mr. Krishna said the Centre had deputed an official team to the State for an on-the-spot assessment of the drought situation and the team would arrive here on Tuesday. The State officials had been instructed to furnish details to the visiting team.

Revenue collection

Mr. Krishna said the Government had set a target to achieve 18 per cent growth in revenue collection during 2001-2002 and warned the officials that action would be taken if there was any laxity on their part.

He announced minor tax concessions exempting luxury tax on silk, tax on pappad, industrial inputs, computer software, medical equipment purchased by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and blankets produced by unorganised sector.

While the tax has been removed in respect of silk, bedsheets and medical equipment, the same on computer ware has been reduced from 10 to four per cent. But the revenue loss to the Government on account of these tax concessions was not specified.

Mr. Krishna, however, rejected the demand made by the Opposition to waive interest on loans taken by farmers from cooperatives.

He said the Government had planned to raise Rs. 5,920 crores through public debt and decided to utilise the amount for asset creation. The Government would provide budgetary support of Rs. 571 crores and Rs. 104 crores to the Krishna Jala Nigama Corporation and the Neeravari Nigama respectively. He said the World Bank had agreed to lend Rs. 4,700 crores during the next five years of which Rs. 4,000 crores was for the power sector.

Mr. Krishna said the State would spend Rs. 7,101 crores on salaries and pensions, and Rs. 3,555 crores on interest payment this year. Action would be taken to systematically reduce the interest payment.

He pointed out that the expenditure on plan and non- plan sector had been stepped up and the Government would spend Rs. 1,598 on irrigation, Rs. 339 on housing, Rs. 794 crores on road repair, Rs. 708 crores on drinking water, Rs. 994 crores on social welfare and Rs. 346 crores on agriculture. For the power sector, the Government had provided Rs. 2,341 crores this year as against Rs. 874 crores last year.

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