Karnataka witnessed on Friday, 16 February, the last presentation of the budget by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah before the state headed for polls in two months time.
Expectedly, Siddaramaiah doled out a series of schemes and policies for the benefit of the people of his state, especially farmers.
He announced a Rs 2500-crore package for Bengaluru, the capital which has recently been in the news for an impending scarcity of drinking water. Siddaramaiah said that 40 lakes will be developed in 2018-19 in and around the city.
Siddaramaiah, who was presenting his sixth straight budget as Chief Minister, also announced that a farm loan waiver of Rs 1 lakh from cooperative banks will be given if a farmer dies.
Through a special scheme called ‘Raita Belaku’, the Karnataka government aims to provide 70 lakh dry land farmers with a guaranteed annual income of Rs 5,000-10,000 per hectare. An amount of Rs 3500 crores has been allocated for the same.
The state government also announced Rs 600 crore for Krishi Bhagya and Rs 845 crore under Karnataka Raitha Suraksha Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.
Siddaramaiah also launched a healthcare scheme of his own. Dubbed ‘Aarogya Karnataka’, the scheme which will be launched in February 2018 will provide primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare to all the people in the state.
Sub centres will be upgraded and bed strength in Bengaluru Medical College and Research Institute will be increased. New buildings will be constructed in Gadag, Koppal and Chamrajnagar Medical Colleges, Siddaramaiah announced.
Various other schemes and policies, such as DISHA scheme for entrepreneurs, a new scheme for loans to minority and a new logistics policy for seamless movement of goods from production point to consumers were announced.
Free gas connection for 30 lakh beneficiaries was announced under ‘Mukhyamantri Anila Bhagya’.
Besides, a wage revision was announced for the benefit of 5.9 lakh government employees and almost the same number of pensioners. The government said that it will cost an additional burden of Rs 10,508 crore to the exchequer.
Siddaramaiah increased the excise duty on liquor in the state to 8 per cent.
The total size of the Karnataka Budget 2018 comes to around Rs 2,09,181 crore, which is Rs 22,620 crore, or 12.12 per cent, more than that of 2017.
The 69-year-old Siddaramaiah was presenting his record 13th state budget and his sixth as Chief Minister.