Karnataka budget 2014: CM Siddaramaiah has sops for farmers, minorities; imposes no fresh tax on common man

Written by PTI | Bangalore | Updated: Feb 15 2014, 00:45am hrs
Karantaka budgetThe budget also gives thrust on infrastructure development in Bangalore. PTI
With Lok Sabha elections apparently weighing on his mind, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today spared the common man of additional tax burden in budget 2014-15.

Presenting his ninth budget in the Assembly, second as the Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah proposed a slew of schemes and reliefs for farmers, minorities, SCs & STs. The budget also gives thrust on infrastructure development in Bangalore.

Siddaramaiah announced that the cap on short-term, interest-free agriculture loans would be raised to Rs 3 lakh from Rs 2 lakh. The three per cent interest rate on farm loans of Rs 3-10 lakh will also continue.

However, coming hard on beer consumers he proposed an increase in additional excise duty on the beverage from 112 per cent to 135. The licence fee of primary distillery, Indian liquor manufacturing distillery and brewery has also been raised by 50 per cent.

Laying thrust on development of minorities, the Chief Minister earmarked Rs 800 crore for the Department of Minorities Welfare, Haj and Wakf.

He also announced that Rs 125 crore would be provided under the Christian Development Scheme for repairs and renovation of churches, community halls, skill development, incentives to students, orphanages and other activities.

A revenue collection target of Rs 37,740 crore is fixed for the current year. For the year 2014-15, the target is fixed at Rs 42,000 crore, he said.

Revenue surplus is estimated at Rs 281 crore. Fiscal deficit is expected to be Rs 20,041 crore-- 2.92 per cent GSDP.

Total liabilities are projected at Rs 1,57,681 crore at the end of 2014-15 was estimated to be 23.01 per cent of GSDP, Siddaramaiah said, asserting that all these fiscal parameters were within the mandate of the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Siddaramaiah said the budget was based on the foundation of social justice with programmes meant for development of people deprived of opportunities. "Inclusive and all-round development is the basic goal of our budget."

Noting that 70 per cent of the cultivation area is under rainfed agriculture, he announced 'Krishibhagya' scheme covering 45 lakh hectares in 23 districts through conservation, storage and efficient use of rain water, among others.

A total of 53 lakh farmers were expected to benefit from the scheme which would be implemented in a 'mission mode' in a phased manner, he said.

The Chief Minister also increased the incentive given for the inter-caste marriage of SC girls from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

Besides, free laptops will be given to to SC/ST students in engineering, medical and journalism courses and doctoral studies.

The budget provides for a total allocation of Rs 1,445 crore for development of backward classes in 2014-15, including providing loans at 2 per cent interest on construction of shops costing Rs 1.5 lakh per shop.

Food expenses in grant in aided hostels for minorities go up from Rs 600 per month to Rs 750,

On the sports front, he said it has been decided to award Rs 1 crore for winners of gold medal, Rs 50 lakh for silver medal and Rs 25 lakh for bronze in Olympics.

In a move to give boost to infrastructure for the country's IT capital, he unveiled a slew of projects with a total grant of Rs 1,527 crore relating to road development, railway under-bridges and backward areas within the city.

Siddaramaiah said work relating to the second phase of Bangalore Metro covering a distance of 72.10 km is planned to be completed at a cost of Rs 26,405 crore, for which the central government has given its approval.

To motivate and promote enterpreneurship, he said interest subsidy of six per cent would be provided to new generation enterpreneurs in the state.

He also declared the government's commitment to amend the Minor Mineral Rules, including Sand Policy, to prevent illegal mining and transportation of mineral wealth and plug loopholes in revenue collection.

Stating that the government aims to make Karnataka an innovation hub of the world, he said it would provide 'Plug and Play' space for start-ups at subsidised rates.

Siddaramaiah, who spoke of having provided a "clean, robust and transparent" administration in the past nine months since Congress came back to power, said government would initiate action for a new act in the state on the lines of central government's Lok Pal Act, 2013.

On resource mobilisation, the Chief Minister said, "The state's total own tax revenue for 2014-15 is estimated to be Rs 69,870 crore with an increase of 13.55 per cent over the budget estimate for 2013-14."

He said Rs 4,473 crore is expected to be collected from non-tax revenues, adding that the state government expects to receive Rs 16,560 crore by way of the share in the Budget 2014-15 in Central Tax and another Rs 20,135 crore as grants from Central Government.

Siddaramaiah said these revenue receipts were estimated to be supplemented by gross borrowings of Rs 25,042 crore, non-debt receipts of Rs 75 crore and recovery of loans to the extent of Rs 93 crore.

He stated that "various state owned boards and corporations and local bodies are expected to mobilise Rs 7,913 crore through internal resource generation and borrowings made on the basis of their own financial strength and own revenues."