With state elections tentatively scheduled between April and May this year, Karnataka Chief Minister (CM) Siddaramaiah today (16 February) announced the last state budget before the state goes to polls.
With a total outlay of over Rs two lakh crore, the budget gave special attention to urban and minority development. Siddaramaiah also announced a loan waiver upto Rs 1 lakh upon a farmer’s demise, coming at the heels of another loan waiver announced last year. Giving into pressure from farmer groups, Siddaramaiah had announced waiving off of loans upto Rs 50,000 per farmer, which a total expenditure of Rs 8,165 crore.
Focussing on minorities, the government has allocated Rs 800 crore towards infrastructure development in predominantly minority areas, along with Rs 200 crore for development of Christian community. The CM also allocated Rs 15 crore for the development of Wakf properties and another Rs 15 crore for modernisation of madarsas in the state. Another Rs 10 crore have been allocated towards construction of Samudaya Bhavan at Darul-Ulum Sabeel Ur Rashad, Arabic College campus in Bengaluru. Rs 80 crore have been allotted to development of Parsis, Jains and Sikhs.
Development works in Bengaluru have received a budgetary allocation of Rs 2500 crore with special focus on roads and connectivity. Rs 120 crore have also been allocated towards Indira canteens announced by the Karnataka CM last year. Allocations for several bridges and lakes were also announced. Bellandur lake, which has now become infamous for catching fire, has been allotted Rs 50 crore in the budget.
Siddaramaiah also ‘Raitha Belaku’ scheme for dry land farmers through which a maximum of Rs 10,000 will be transferred directly to farmers growing rain-fed crops. The move will benefit 70 lakh farmers and cost Rs 3,500 crore to the state exchequer.
Towards social development, a grant of Rs 3 lakh for a SC boy marrying a girl from another caste and Rs 5 lakh for a SC girl marrying a boy from another caste was also announced by the CM.
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