More funds for Bangalore in state budget: Siddaramaiah

Bangalore, June 18 (IANS) As India's tech hub and state capital, Bangalore will get more funds in the new budget for this fiscal (2013-14) to meet its infrastructure needs, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Tuesday.

"We will certainly increase the outlay for Bangalore to provide more funds for its infrastructure projects in the state budget that is likely to be presented July 12," Siddaramaiah said at an interaction with editors of local newspapers and bureau chiefs of news agencies here.

Reiterating that Bangalore was a high priority for the Congress government, Siddaramiah said he had initiated the budget exercise Monday with his ministers and officials to plan allocations for various programmes and projects for the socio-economic development of the state, including cities and towns in view of increasing urbanisation.

"Though agriculture, irrigation, rural development, education, health and energy remain our priority areas, equal attention is being given to infrastructure development in urban areas, especially Bangalore to keep pace with its phenomenal growth and expansion," Siddaramaiah said.

Former chief minister Jagdish Shettar of the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had presented Feb 8 a budget for this fiscal, but the new government has decided to come out with its own budget, ostensibly to include some of the promises made in its election manifesto prior to the state assembly poll May 5.

"I will be going to New Delhi June 25-26 to finalise the play size and its outlay with the central government and the Planning Commission. As we have already announced some of the schemes for implementation, we will explore resource mobilisation to fund them and infrastructure projects," said Siddaramaiah, who also holds the finance portfolio.

The chief minister clarified that there would be only one budget and no separate budget for the agriculture sector.

"A budget is primarily a statement of receipts and expenditure with allocations to diverse sectors and proposals to mobilise resources. We need to strike a balance for inclusive growth by raising resources to fund our various policies and programmes highlighted in the election manifesto," he observed.

On the day of assuming office (May 13), Siddaramaiah announced that his government would distribute 30kg of rice per month at Re.1 per kg to 98.15 lakh families having the below poverty line (BPL) families ration cards through fair price shops at an estimated cost of Rs.4,300 crore per annum from July 1.

He also announced waiver of cumulative loans, including interest, to the tune of Rs.1,225 crore from 10 lakh beneficiaries belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and minorities.

"We need to explore various avenues to mobilise resources to fund schemes envisaged in the poll manifesto and programmes to be proposed in the ensuing budget," Siddaramaiah added.

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