With focus on agrarian economy, Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Friday proposed allocation of Rs 12,650 crore in the state 2019-2020 budget for the Congress-JDS coalition government's flagship crop loan waiver scheme.
Aimed at striking urban-rural balance, Kumaraswamy, who has doled out several projects for Bengaluru, also increased additional exercise duty on beer, draught beer, beer manufactured in micro brewery and low alcoholic beverages.
Kumaraswamy, who holds the finance portfolio, presented his government's second budget, amid high octane political drama that saw the opposition BJP boycotting it.
The budget presentation was overshadowed by heightened political developments since morning with Kumaraswamy releasing at a press meet an audio clip of an alleged conversation of state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa luring a JD(S) MLA to destabilise the coalition government in the state.
However, Yeddyurappa, who is the leader of opposition in the assembly, dismissed it as "fake" and a "concocted story."
The day also saw the Congress deciding to crack the whip and initiate action against four rebel MLAs under the Anti-Defection law after the legislature party meeting here.
"In 2019-20, a budget provision of Rs 6,500 crore for commercial bank crop loans and Rs 6,150 crore for co-operative bank crop loans has been made," Kumaraswamy said as members of the treasury benches welcomed it by thumping of desks.
The co-operative loan waiver process is scheduled to be completed by June 2019, he said, adding that it is expected that the commercial bank loan waiver would also be completed during fiscal 2019-20.
During his coalition government's first budget Kumaraswamy, fulfilling his pre-election promise, had last year announced Rs 46,000 crore waiver of crop loans borrowed by nearly 42 lakh farmers.
Kumaraswamy said, under the Loan Waiver scheme, Rs 5,450 crore has been released to about 12 lakh loan accounts of commercial banks.
Opposition BJP led by Yeddyurappa, who have been disrupting proceedings since the budget session began on Wednesday alleging that the government lacked majority, staged a walkout.
At the press meet earlier, Kumaraswamy said during the purported conversation Yeddyurappa had also spoken about a "Rs 50 crore offer to book" the assembly speaker.
Objecting to the Chief Minister's comment, BJP wanted clarification on the matter, and also demanded that the budget copies be distributed to the legislators.
Contrary to the usual practice, budget copies were not distributed toMLAs and the media present inside the House, citing the method being followed in Parliament.
The government which plans to achieve the target of Rs 20,950 crore fixed for excise department for fiscal 2019-20, has proposed to increase excise duty on beer."I propose to increase additional excise duty on Beer from 150 per cent to 175 percent, additional excise duty on draught beer from 115 per cent to 150 per cent, excise duty on beer manufactured in Micro Brewery from existing Rs 5 per Bulk litre (BL) to Rs 10 per BL, and additional excise duty
from existing Rs 12.50 per BL to Rs 25 per BL," Kumaraswamy said.
"I also propose to increase excise duty on Low Alcoholic Beverages (LAB) from existing Rs 5 per BL to Rs 10 per BL and additional excise duty from 122 per cent to 150 percent," he added.
Taking a dig at the Centre's "Pradhnamanthri Fasal Bheema Yojana", the Chief Minister in his budget speech noted that in the last two years, this scheme seemed to have benefited the insurance companies more than the farmers, as he hinted at state's own new crop insurance scheme.
"Many farmer leaders have expressed this view in the meetings. In this background, our government has proposed to consider the pros and cons of implementing a new crop insurance scheme," he said.A total grant of Rs 17,212 crore has been provided to Water Resources Department during 2019-20 in the budget that proposes for various irrigation schemes, tank filling projects, comprehensive developmental works, canal modernisation-development works, Bridge and Barrage
construction works, among other things.
One thousand Karnataka Public Schools will be established in Hobli headquarters in the next 4 years, Kumaraswamy said.
Education will be provided under one roof from pre-primary level to the 12th class, he said.
The budget also proposes the establishment of Christian Development Corporation in 2019-20, and said comprehensive development programmes for the Christian Community will be taken up at a cost of Rs 200 crore.
The Chief Minister also proposed Group Insurance scheme to all Auto and Taxi drivers, as he announced that Drivers Day will be observed by the government in all the districts of the State to identify the good services of the drivers of various sectors.
He said Karnataka has been at the forefront of implementation of GST since its launch in July 2017.
However, a number of factors including technological glitches, changes envisaged in the return filing system, non-real time matching of input tax credit, division of tax payers for administration and frequent reduction of GST rates, have contributed to the loss of revenue to the State.Thus, Karnataka demands adequate compensation in the manner as envisaged in the Compensation to States Act, up to 2025 if the revenue gap is not bridged inspite of the best efforts of the State to effectively implement GST, he added.