Liquor prices will go up and footwear will cost less in Karnataka as the BJP government presented a “please-all” budget for 2013-14, ahead of the Assembly elections due in May.
In a populist move, the government announced that rice supplied through the Public Distribution System to families below poverty line will be provided at Rs two per kg from 2013-14.
“Rs 1,200 crore is reserved for food subsidy during 2013-14,” said Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who tabled a Rs 1,17,005 crore budget in the Assembly, an increase of 13.88 per cent over the figure of Rs 1,02,742 crore in the previous year. He sought approval for vote on account for the period up to July 31 this year.
“Revenue surplus is estimated to be Rs 585 crore. Fiscal deficit is expected to be Rs 16,714 crore, which is 2.78 per cent of GSDP,” he said.
Mr. Shettar said total liabilities at Rs 1,34,472 crore at the end of 2013-14 are estimated to be 22.35 per cent of GSDP, which is within the ceiling of 25.2 per cent limit of the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act for the year 2013-14.
The government proposed to revise the 17 slabs of declared prices relating to Indian made liquor by increasing each of them by Rs 40, and double the licence fee collected for transfer of retail liquor licence and bar and restaurant licences from one person to another.
Footwear costing up to Rs 200 per pair would be exempted from tax. Tax exemption on paddy, rice, wheat, pulses and products of rice and wheat would be continued for one more year from April this year.
In an apparent move to derive political dividends, the government proposed to create 43 new taluks, based on the reports submitted to the Government in recent years, demand from the public and due to geographical factors.
The government would undertake minority welfare programmes with a budget of Rs 415 crore, including scholarship to students belonging to Jain community, and grants for development of Muslim pilgrimage places.
The Chief Minister announced “one cyber cafe per village” scheme, which would be implemented in every village in the state in a phased manner.
“At the first stage, Rs 50 crore is earmarked for establishment of cyber cafes in all 5,627 panchayat headquarters of the state,” Shettar said.
He said Rs 6,203 crore would be provided in 2012-13 for development of Bangalore from government and related organisations.