Karnataka Budget: CM Siddaramaiah pampers Ahinda & how!

There is an increase in monthly diet charges of Government hostels and Ashram schools by Rs.100 per student of backward class.

Bengaluru: In a bid to woo Ahinda voters (a loose coalition of Dalits, minorities and backward classes) Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced a slew of programmes for them keeping in view the Assembly elections to be held next year.

In his budget for the year 2017-18, the CM has announced an enhancement of scholarships, increase in food allowance, increase in food allowance in pre-matric and post-matric hostels by Rs 100 per student per month limited to Rs 1500, upgradation of 30 Morarji Desai Residential Schools till PUC with Science and Mathematics subjects- Rs 1 crore to each district and skill development training for one lakh SC/ST employed youth.

1400 professionally qualified SC and 600 ST unemployed youth will get a subsidy of Rs 2.5 lakh or 50 per cent of the project cost, whichever is less, for starting self-employment units with unit cost upto Rs 5 lakhs; 3500 SC and 1500 ST unemployed youth possessing Driving License will get a subsidy upto Rs 3 lakhs or 50% of the vehicle cost, whichever is less for purchasing Tourist Taxis, the monthly training allowance to SC / ST law graduates has been enhanced to Rs 5,000; there is an increase in the unit cost for construction of houses for BPL families of SC/ST communities to 1.75 lakh in rural areas and to Rs 2 lakhs in urban areas; Rs 3 lakhs incentive was announced for widows belonging to SC/ ST communities in case they remarry and Rs 2 lakhs incentive to SC/ST youth who marry among SC/ST inter sub-castes.

A Rs 100 crores Corpus fund was set up with assistance from Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee corporation of India for furnishing collateral security to SC/ ST entrepreneurs to avail loans.

Identifying smaller groups within the Scheduled Tribes, Mr Siddaramaiah has offered an assistance of Rs 200 crore for development of Jenukuruba, Koraga, Soliga, Kadukuruba, Erava, Gowdalu, Hasaluru, Iruliga, Siddi, Malekudiya, Hakki-Pikki, Thoda, Meda and other tribal communities.

Special rules were framed for appointment of tribal communities living in forests and forest boundaries, to the posts of Guard, Watcher and other D Group posts. An allocation of Rs. 300 Crores for provision of direct loans for economic development, to 1 lakh SC/STs through Dr: B.R. Ambedkar Development Corporation and Sri Maharshi Valmiki ST Development Corporation was made.

For uplift of backward classes, the CM had proposed one-time incentive of Rs. 2 lakhs to students of Backward Class Communities securing admission in IIM, IIT, IISc and other reputed national education institutions.

There is an increase in monthly diet charges of Government hostels/Residential and Ashram schools by Rs.100 per student. Rs. 60 crore has been allotted for development of Madivala, Savitha Samaja, Thigala and Kumbara communities.

Taxis will be disitributed among 1,000 Backward Class unemployed youth having DL, with 50% subsidy on the cost of the vehicle. Rs. 25 crores to Vishwakarma Development Corporation to take up new programmes.

Karnataka Uppara Development Corporation will be set up for development of Uppara and sub-castes while Ambigara Chowdaiah Development Corporation will be established for comprehensive development of Bestha, Kabbaliga, Koli, Gangamatha, Mogaveera and sub-castes. Setting up of Sangolli Rayanna Sainik School in Bailahongala Taluk in collaboration with the Defence Ministry is another announcement made by the CM.

For minority welfare, the CM has announced construction of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Bhavan in Bengaluru; at a cost of Rs.20 crores. 200 Moulana Azad Model Schools to be set up in next 2 years in place of closed Government Urdu schools to bring back school dropouts. Ten working women hostels will be opened at a cost of Rs. 2 crores each in Bengaluru and other Corporation areas.

Point and counterpoint: Siddaramaiah vs Jagadish Shettar

The economy is robust, there’s fiscal discipline
The opposition's charge that the budget is tailored to help the Ahinda cause is far from true. In 2013-14 we had promised to spend more on agriculture, irrigation, education, health, women welfare and food and the budget is only fulfilling this promise.

In fact, our government's spending in all sectors is more than that of the BJP government in the years between 2009 and 2012. The spending so far has been over Rs 54,893 crore in the major and medium sectors alone. If minor irrigation is added, it will cross Rs 63,000 crore in five years.

Even though it came out with an exclusive agriculture budget, the last BJP government earmarked only Rs 7000 crore for the sector. But the Congress government has earmarked Rs 17000 crore for agriculture even without a separate budget for it.

Also, spending on SC/STs has seen a 42 per cent growth.
Mr Jagadish Shettar says he will fight both inside and outside the legislature for waiver of farm loans. But the opposition should be fighting in Parliament for waiver of 25 per cent of the Centre's loans of Rs 42,000 crore to farmers as only then can the state reciprocate by waiving off 25 per cent of its Rs 10,500 crore loans to farmers given through the cooperative sector.

There is also no truth in the opposition charge that the government has resorted to heavy borrowing. As a matter of fact, the economy is robust and there is fiscal discipline.

Even tax collection during the previous year was good. While all other departments reached their targets, stamp and registrations fell short as a result of the 25 per cent slump in property registration following demonetisation.

There’s nothing in this for backward regions
It is a totally disappointing budget. Farmers had asked for waiver of their agricultural loans, but the state government has dashed their hopes by not considering their genuine demand. It has also burdened the common man by taking a Rs 37, 000 crore loan.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had criticised the BJP government for taking loans from banks when he was the opposition leader, but now he has done the same. And although he has claimed that collection of revenue has fallen due to demonetisation, nowhere has he explained this.

His main agenda is to criticise Prime Minister Narenda Modi, but there is no substance in his claim about a revenue crunch due to demonetisation. The budget has not earmarked enough funds for RDPR, social welfare, health and family welfare, education and women and child development departments.

We wanted the Chief Minister to allocate at least Rs 5000 crore for implementation of the D.N. Nanjundappa committee report on development of backward regions of Karnataka , but he has earmarked only Rs 1,500 crore for development of the Hyderabad- Karnatak region.

The BJP will fight against this government and demand waiver of farm'rs' loans both inside and outside the legislature. The announcement of new taluks is just a repetition of an old announcement made by the BJP when it was in power in the state from 2008-13.

2 more kg rice for Bhagya allottees
Bowing to pressure from ruling party legislators, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced an enhancement in the rice allotment from 5 kg to 7 kg per individual under Annabhagya scheme.

However, a cap of 35 kg per family has been imposed. Presenting the state budget for 2017-18, the CM proposed that distribution of new ration cards be brought under Sakala and that the cards be delivered within 15 days through speed post.

Other schemes are: Supply of food grains to Nariniketana, old age homes, blind schools, hostels for poor students, beggars' rehabilitation centres etc on Anna Bhagya model. Additional Consumer Dispute forums will also be set at the state and district level.

Rs 5310 crore: CM gives it big to state roads
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced on Wednesday that KSHIP-III project will be taken up to develop 418.5 km of roads at a cost of Rs. 5310 crores in the state.

Under ADB- 2nd loan project, Kollegal- Hanur road, 23.8 km, Chintamani- Andhra Pradesh border road - 39.8 km, Bengaluru- Magadi -NH 75, Nelamangala - Mangaluru -50.7 km, Gadag- Honnali road- 138.2 km will be taken up under KSHIP III Scheme, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

The CM has allocated Rs. 8559 crores for public works, ports and inland transport departments. Besides, the government has proposed to develop 22 km road around Mysuru city at a cost of Rs.117 crores. To connect Mangaluru airport, it was decided to develop the Mangaluru- Athradi state highway.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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