Special Correspondent

Rs. 1 crore allocated for development of Datta Peetha in Bababudangiri; sops for various communities

Support price of Rs. 9,500 a quintal announced for arecaunut

Monthly honorarium for village assistants increased to Rs. 3,000

Bangalore: With a “devil-could-care” attitude to the Opposition’s criticism over the caste-wise allocation of funds in his budget, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Friday unleashed another bout of doles to Idigas, Mogaveeras and Kodavas in the backward class category; Chalavadis, a major sect among the Scheduled Castes (right-hand), and Lingayats setting his eyes on their votes in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Mr. Yeddyurappa provided grants to these castes, in addition to what he had already given in the budget to many others, while replying to the debate on the budget estimates in the Legislative Assembly.

He has also given some relief to arecaunut growers and a lift irrigation scheme in Malavalli taluk.

Perhaps for the first time in the history of the State budget, Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is also holding the finance portfolio, announced a special grant of Rs.1 crore for the development of Datta Peetha in Bababudangiri in Chickmaglur district.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said that the Federation of Kodavas would get a financial support of Rs. 1 crore for constructing a cultural and sports complex.

He announced loan at 3 per cent interest to the Idigas, who were displaced on account of a ban on arrack. He announced support price of Rs. 9,500 a quintal of arecaunut.

A grant of Rs. 3 crore was given for the development of Chalavadis in Bangalore, Shimoga and Bidar.

The Chalavadis would also be given a site for construction of Chalavadi Bhavan in the city.

The Chief Minister sanctioned Rs. 50 lakh for holding Basava festival at Basava Kalyan in Bidar district. The Mogaveeras (fishermen) in the coastal belt have been sanctioned Rs.1 crore for constructing a Mogaveera Bhavan at Bennekudra in Barkur of Udupi district and launching a religious institution (peetha).

He sanctioned Rs.1 crore for constructing a Yatri Nivas at Pandharapur of Maharashtra for the pilgrims from the State.

He gave Rs. one crore for developing the historic Lakkundi village.

Mr. Yeddyurappa announced a grant of Rs. 50 lakh for the Kuvempu Pratishthana at Kuppalli, the birthplace of the poet.

A memorial to be built for Pampa, the first poet laureate of Kannada, at Annigeri of Navlgund taluk, was given Rs.1 crore.

The Chief Minister announced Rs.1 crore for raising a memorial for Jagannatha Rao Joshi, a veteran BJP leader at Naragund, Rs. 20 lakh for cultural activities at Sanehalli of Chitradurga district.

The monthly honorarium for the village assistants has been raised from Rs. 2,000 to Rs.3,000, creating an additional burden of about Rs. 12 crore on the exchequer.

While giving approval to the lift irrigation scheme at Poorigali of Malavalli taluk, he announced an allocation of Rs. 5 crore for the same next year.

Duty on IMFL up

Mr. Yeddyurappa said that the Government would get Rs. 820 crore in addition to the measures already announced in the budget under the Department of Excise, such as hiking the excise duty on IMFL and other low-alcohol liquors during the fiscal 2009-10.

He said steps would be taken to mobilise resources by hiking excise duty on Indian Made Foreign Liquor, beer and other low alcohol liquors.

The share of profit by the retail liquor sellers would be reduced and without increasing the minimum retail price of the IMFL.

The additional excise duty on IMFL would also be reviewed. The government orders would be issued shortly.

Mr. Yeddyurappa announced reduction of VAT from 12.5 per cent to zero per cent on sale of Karnataka Software Development, sili-polene plastic tarpaulin and organic waste and converters.

He extended incentives to the Kannada film industry as part of the diamond jubilee of the industry.

The incentives are: Rs.5 lakh to the national award winning Kannada films and a subsidy of Rs. 10 lakh each to 50 Kannada films with an allocation of Rs. 2 crore.

The Chief Minister announced Rs. 1 crore for the Film Industry Workers’ Welfare Endowment Fund.

He said that special laws for preventing production of duplicate CD, DVD and cassettes would be framed.

Both the Houses of Legislature adopted the Karnataka Appropriation Bill, 2009 authorising payment and appropriation of around Rs. 21,259.14 crore from and out of the Consolidated Fund for the services of the financial year 2009-10.

They also passed the Karnataka Appropriation (No.1) Bill, 2009 authorising payment and appropriation of around Rs. 6,207.45 crore from and out of the Consolidated Fund for the services for 2008-09.

Both the Houses passed the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility (Amendment) Bill, 2009 to facilitate the government to make additional borrowing of around Rs. 1,340 crore during 2008-09.

This borrowing would be over and above the borrowings permissible within the normal three per cent fiscal deficit limit of the Gross State Domestic Product.

He said that it was considered necessary to amend Section 4 of the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2002 to raise the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent of the estimated GSDP for 2008-09, as a one-time measure to meet capital expenditure as a part of economic stimulus package.