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People of State burdened with additional debt: Deshpande

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Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah addressing presspersons in Bangalore on Friday.
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah addressing presspersons in Bangalore on Friday.

Special Correspondent

‘Budget has no direction, clarity, creativity and lacks economic prudence'

Bangalore: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president R.V. Deshpande on Friday criticised Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for burdening the people of the State with an additional debt of Rs.11,000 crore, taking the total debt to Rs. 82,000 crore, which would have a “staggering” effect on the economy.

Reacting to the State budget at a press conference, Mr. Deshpande said that the Gross State Domestic Product was 4.5 per cent and the projected GSDP was 5.5 per cent as against the projected GDP of 8.7 per cent. While the Centre gave a fillip to the economy with its stimulus package, Mr. Yeddyurappa gave “nothing”.

No fresh allocation had been given to infrastructure and human development programmes, agriculture, horticulture, urban development and irrigation.

Foodgrains production would come down to 106 lakh tonnes from 120 lakh tonnes and that of the oilseeds to 11 lakh tonnes from 16 lakh tonnes.

All these and tax on motor vehicles, a setback to transport industry, and hotels, would discourage investors. There is no mention of construction of ports, airports and power plants promised in the previous budget.

About the Bangalore projects, Mr. Deshpande said that much of the Rs. 6,000 crore that Mr. Yeddyurappa claims had been spent on the city had come from the JNNURM and slum development and poverty alleviation programmes of the Centre. He has an eye on the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike elections and has tried to “hoodwink” the people with his promises of Rs. 5,000 crore investments through the Bangalore Development Authority and BBMP.

Taking the Chief Minister to task for “misguiding” the people in north Karnataka districts devastated by the floods, Mr. Deshpande said that the State Government had spent only Rs.1,879 crore of the Rs.1,950 crore it received. In fact, the Government did not have to spend a single rupee from its exchequer for rehabilitation, he claimed.

Mr. Deshpande and KPCC working president D.K. Shivakumar criticised the Chief Minister for reduced tax collection by Rs. 3,400 crore — from Rs. 32,731 crore to Rs.29,339 crore.

All this, they said, was not good augury for the welfare of the people and development of the State. Mr. Deshpande said Mr. Yeddyurappa tried to please the people with over 200 promises in his budget, which had “no direction, clarity, creativity and lacked economic prudence.”

‘Anti-poor'

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah termed the budget as “anti-poor and anti-farmer budget”. “It has disappointed all sections of the society”, he added.

Siddaramaiah, a former Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister, said the budget measures would push up inflation.

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