Terming his budget as the “most balanced, growth oriented and inclusive” one, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said he did not feel it necessary to bring out “one more book” in the name of agriculture budget.
Of the 168 promises made by the Congress in its election manifesto, the budget had addressed 60, he claimed.
At the post-budget press conference here, Mr. Siddaramaiah said separate agriculture budgets presented by his predecessors did not help the agriculture sector either. Instead, growth of the sector had come down drastically from 12.4 per cent in 2007-08 to 1.8 per cent in 2012-13. Mere production of one more document would not help the sector, but timely provision of agriculture credit and inputs would, he said.
Responding to the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa’s criticism about discontinuation of schemes such as bicycle for schoolchildren and Bhagyalakshmi, Mr. Siddaramaiah said they were ongoing schemes and would be continued. There was no need to mention them separately, he said.
Though he did not bring out a separate agriculture budget by clubbing together several related heads, the focus invariably had been on this sector, the Chief Minister said. Keeping up his party’s promise of spending Rs. 50,000 crore to bring nearly 9.25 lakh hectares under irrigation in five years, Rs. 9,812 crore had been earmarked this year, he said.
Mr. Siddaramaiah listed out several pro-farmer measures proposed in the budget to substantiate his claim. Also, Calamity Mitigating Fund with a corpus of Rs. 500 crore would be set up to compensate crop loss. Tuition fee of farmers’ children would be waived during such calamities. The process to increase the height of the Alamatti dam from 519 m to 524 m, entailing submersion of about 80,000 acres of land and availability of 171 tmcft of additional water would start soon, he said.