Encouraged by a rise in income and the easing of restrictions related to the Covid 19 pandemic, Karnataka’s Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai, on Friday increased allocations to the health and education sectors by 1% for the 2021-22 financial year.
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Presenting its first budget, Bommai did not levy any new taxes. He called the budget, which is still dependent on external borrowing of over Rs 70,000 crore, “formulated by an ordinary man for ordinary people”.
In one of the key budget measures, Bommai increased the allocation for education from 11% in 2021-22 to 12% for the period 2022-23, and for health from 4% to 5%. Rs 2.65 lakh crore of funds have been allocated for the current financial year.
“In this budget, a substantial increase in allocations for education, health and nutrition has been made with an emphasis on human resource development. In this direction, new Universities, Model Schools, Bengaluru Government Schools, Karnataka Institute of Technology and new Community Health Centers have been proposed,” the Chief Minister said.
A total of Rs 31,980 crore has been allocated for education programs and Rs 13,982 for health projects.
While Bommai’s predecessor, BS Yediyurappa, cited “economic hardship on an unprecedented scale” and a reduction in the state’s share of central taxes to present a low-key, no-frills budget in March 2021, Bommai said an increase in central allocation and revenue collection had helped increase allocations for education, health and the social sector.
The Bommai budget is a deficit budget like that of 2021-22. While revenue is estimated at Rs 1,89,888 crore, expenses are expected to be Rs 2,04,586 crore. However, the deficit will be lower than the previous year due to better management, Bommai said.
“The revenue shortfall was caused by Covid. Last year it was Rs 15,134 crore but now it has fallen to Rs 14,699 crore due to better management,” Bommai said. The CM of Karnataka added that the state only needs to borrow Rs 67,462 crore in 2021-2022, against a budget estimate of borrowing Rs 71,462 crore.
“Indian government tax revenue also increased in 2021-22 due to which the share of central taxes accruing to the state increased in the revised estimates to Rs 27,145 crore from Rs 24,273 crore as projected in the budget. . The Centre, in its budget for 2022-2023, estimated Rs 29,783 crore for fiscal decentralization to Karnataka,” Bommai said.
He added: “State GST collections also increased in 2021-22. This shows that we are on the road to recovery. The Center has supported the state by providing Rs 18,109 crore as GST loan in lieu of compensation, in addition to Rs 7,158 crore as GST compensation for 2021-22.
The Chief Minister also said that in 2021-22, all sectors showed growth compared to last year. “The overall GSDP for 2021-22 at constant prices is expected to increase by 9.5%.”
The Bommai budget also proposed a series of populist measures to address castes and religious groups in what is seen as an effort to garner support for the BJP for the 2023 state elections.
A stipend of Rs 500 crore to provide a diesel subsidy of Rs 250 for farmers to use mechanized tools for farming, creating 69 new gashalas to protect the cows, a cow adoption scheme, an allocation of Rs 300 crore for the farmers’ health insurance schemes, the distribution of Rs 24,000 crore in agricultural loans to 33 lakh farmers under the existing schemes have been proposed.
Bommai said Rs 3,000 crore would be set aside to help improve health, education and nutrition status in the 100 poorest taluks in the state.
“It’s a sensitive budget because it looked at environmental losses and tried to do eco-budgeting. We are the first government to do so. We are increasing compensation for acid attack victims from Rs 3,000 per month to Rs 10,000 per month,” Bommai said. Other “sensitive” initiatives include an increase in fees for Asha health workers and village helpers by Rs 1,000, an increase in the monthly pension for single and widowed women and gender minorities from Rs 600 to Rs 800, an insurance scheme for taxi drivers, and an increase in fees for Anganwadi workers based on their years of experience.
Keeping an eye out for smaller OBC groups that could prove decisive in the election, Bommai said Sri Narayan Guru residential schools would be opened on the Karnataka coast – a move that is seen as an effort to appease the Billava community that was cut off by the refusal. of the BJP government in Delhi to allow a painting of the holy Narayan Guru during the Republic Day parade.
“Rs 400 crore will be spent on the development of backward communities, such as Tigala, Mali, Mali malagara, Kumbara, Yadava, Devadiga, Simpi, Kshatriya, Medara, Kunchi, Kurma, Pinjara/Nadaf, Kuruba, Balija, Idiga, and Hadapada through the Devaraj Urs Development Corporation,” Bommai added.
Reacting to the budget, Congress party leader DK Shivakumar said it was “wishful thinking” on the part of the chief minister as he came up with something he does not have the resources for.