No separate agriculture budget

Karnataka’s State Budget will be presented on July 12, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday.

The priority areas of this State Budget will be agriculture, irrigation, rural development, education, health and power.

Although agriculture would be the focus, the practice of presenting a second budget on agriculture, introduced by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led government, would be discontinued.

“There is no need for it, as a budget is an annual financial statement of receipts and expenditure,” said the Chief Minister, who incidentally has the distinction of presenting seven State budgets under previous governments.

On how he would mobilise resources for the many populist schemes promised by the Congress in its election manifesto, he said all of them could not be implemented in one year, but there would be no difficulty doing so over this government’s tenure.

Just one month into his term, Mr. Siddaramaiah made the assurance that his government was keen on making a “visible change”. He promised to tone up the efficiency and transparency of his administration, bureaucracy and the police.

He said one of first tasks had been to conduct meetings with his officers in which he exhorted them to rise above corruption as only then would they have the “moral courage” to provide people with a corruption-free government. “After all, charity begins at home,” he said.

To a question on Cabinet expansion, the Chief Minister said “not now”.