Karnataka budget Friday, first after Congress' return to power

Bangalore, July 11 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will present his budget for 2013-14, two months after the Congress returned to power, and the focus is likely to be on welfare measures in view of Lok Sabha election due next year.

Siddaramaiah, who folds the finance portfolio, has a tough balancing act as he also has to raise additional resources to fund these measures and the over Rs.6,000 crore schemes he announced May 13, the day he took over as chief minister.

The schemes include up to 30 kg rice for nearly 10 million poor families at Re.1 per kg, being implemented from Wednesday (July 10), and waiver of loans, including interest, to benefit one million people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and minorities.

The cheap rice scheme is estimated to cost the government around Rs.4,400 crore a year and s loan waiver of Rs.1,225 crore.

Siddaramaiah has promised that his budget would give priority to the interests of farmers, irrigation, drinking water, education and would also provide for large allocation for Bangalore, the nation's IT hub.

The July 12 budget would be Siddaramaiah's eighth but first as chief minister. He has presented seven budgets when he was finance minister, first during Janata Dal rule and later in Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government.

He joined the Congress in 2007.

This will be the second budget Karnataka would see within six months as the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government headed by Jagadish Shettar had presented one in February, ahead of the May 5 assembly election.

The BJP lost badly in the election with the Congress romping home with 122 seats in the 225-member assembly to form a government on its own after nine years in the state.


Get stories like this on the Yahoo app and discover more every day.
Download it now.