Rs. 22,310-crore allocation for agricultural sector

The maiden budget presented by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Friday, the last to be presented in the 13th Karnataka Legislative Assembly, is a please-all one (vote-on-account) with an eye on the Assembly elections due in a few months. There are no fresh taxes, only a string of populist schemes.

If the Governor’s address to the joint session of the legislature on February 4 was the first test for the Shettar government, the successful presentation of the budget was the second.

The governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which set a new practice in 2011 by introducing a separate budget for agriculture, has continued it for the third year with an allocation of Rs. 22,310 crore against Rs. 19,660 crore allocated in the last budget. The estimated expenditure on agriculture has been enhanced by 13.5 per cent.

Mr. Shettar announced the creation of 43 new taluks (there are already 176 taluks in the State.) and allocated Rs. 86 crore (Rs. 2 crore for each taluk) for creating infrastructure in them.

The Chief Minister has retained the interest rate on cooperative farm loans up to Rs. 3 lakh at 1 per cent. Further, rice will be supplied at Rs. 2 a kg through the public distribution system to below the poverty line families from the coming financial year, for which Rs. 1,200 crore has been earmarked.

The honorarium of anganwadi workers will be raised by Rs. 250 and that of anganwadi assistants by Rs. 500 from April 1.

Nearly Rs. 6,200 crore has been allocated for the overall development of Bangalore.

The budget estimates for 2013-14 present a surplus of Rs. 585.12 crore in the revenue account and a deficit of Rs. 584.12 crore in the capital account, resulting in an overall surplus of Rs. 70 lakh.

Total receipts for the coming financial year are estimated to be Rs. 1,15,983 crore with revenue receipts of Rs. 94,216 crore and capital receipts, including borrowings, at Rs. 21,767 crore. The total expenditure is estimated at Rs. 1,17,005 crore, including debt repayment of Rs. 5,840 crore.

For the first time last year, the State Budget outlay crossed the Rs. 1 lakh crore mark and this time it is 15 per cent higher.

Mr. Shettar not only refrained from enhancing the tax rates but also provided relief with tax exemption for another year on paddy, rice, wheat, pulses and products of rice, wheat, etc.

The excise duty on Indian-made foreign liquor has been revised and the revision in excise duty will be effective from March 1, 2013 while other taxation measures will be effective from April 1.

More In: Karnataka | National | States | News