BENGALURU: Shedding his tag as a leader who pays more attention to his home district Mysuru rather than the globally buzzing IT-BT hub Bengaluru, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced a slew of urban oriented infrastructure projects that could finally rid the city of its unflattering newly acquired monikers.
In a remarkably well crafted budget, his 13th, where he gave a boost to the IT-BT sector, with an outlay of Rs. 247 crore, he balanced the needs of India and Bharat, with generous allocations for farmers, BPL families, students, and the AHINDA bloc But the major thrust was a Rs 7,000 crore outlay for the development of Namma Bengaluru's roads including white topping of roads stretching about 150 kms, rejuvenation of lakes, setting up of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for commuter train, multi level car parking, 150 kms of metro connectivity as just some of the major highlights.
Keeping the urban youth in mind, he announced free bus passes for all students irrespective of category. With this, 19.60 lakh students will benefit across the state. Chief Minister played down the perception that the vote-on-account was presented with an eye on forthcoming Assembly polls but ensured it was an inclusive effort: waiver of farm loans for the next of kin of dead farmers, a universal health coverage scheme, an income support scheme for farmers called 'Raitha Belaku, free cooking gas connections for BPL families, free bus passes for students, proposed a hike in salary to benefit 5.93 lakh employees and almost an equal number of pensioners, and much more. And the resources for such schemes would come for a hike in taxes on liquor.