Karnataka financial status sound, says governor

Bangalore, Feb 4 (IANS) With tax revenues doubling over the last five years, the financial status of Karnataka is sound, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj said Monday.

"Tax revenue is 10 percent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP), which is among the highest in the country," Bhardwaj said in his customary joint address to the state legislature.

Noting that the plan size had increased by 2.5 times during the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, Bhardwaj said per capita plan expenditure of Rs.6,810 was among the highest in India.

"The state government has also been appreciated by one and all for making citizens' right to services through the Karnataka Sakala Services Act a dream come true," he said.

"In just nine months, over 16.5 million citizens have availed 265 services in a time-bound manner across the state, which is the highest achievement in the country."

Lauding the government for empowering people through amendment bills like the guarantee of services to citizens and prohibiting land grabbing, the governor said legislations to set up new universities in law, higher education, horticulture, agriculture and natural resources were noteworthy as they would go a long way in benefiting the people.

Referring to the pro-active policies of the government spanning industries, mining, textiles, IT, semi-conductors, tourism and youth, he said a centre of good governance was being set up.

"The various initiatives of the state had been recognized at national and international levels in diverse sectors such as e-governance, transport, health, rural and urban development and water supply," he said.

The governor also appreciated the setting up of more centres under Bangalore-One and Karnataka-One to provide electronic one-stop services to citizens across the state as transactions worth Rs.163,000 crore (Rs.1.6 trillion) through e-procurement saved 10 percent of state exchequer.

Observing that Karnataka was the first state in India to present a separate budget for agriculture in 2010-11, focussing on rural livelihood and higher productivity, Bhardwaj said 'Bhoochetana' programme had improved crop production.

"Annual foodgrain production at 125 lakh tonnes in this fiscal (2012-13) despite deficit rainfall and drought in many parts of the state was higher than 118 lakh tonnes in previous fiscal (2011-12)," he pointed out.

"Karnataka is the first state in the country to promote organic farming in a big way to reduce dependence on fertilisers and pesticides, which inspired thousands of farmers to take up natural methods of farming in a widespread area across the state," Bhardwaj said.

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