Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will on Friday present the maiden budget of the Congress government in the state.
This will be Siddaramaiah’s 14th Budget in the state legislature, breaking the record of late Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde who presented 13 Budgets in the entirety of his political career.
Siddaramaiah has hinted that the estimated size of the new Budget is Rs 3,35,000 crore.
The size of first budget presented by him was Rs 12,616 crore, while it was Rs 2,09,181 crore for his 13th Budget.
Meanwhile, the 14th Budget is surrounded by challenges at a time when the profit-oriented market and corporate economic policy is ruling the country, erasing socialist economic policies and killing pro people concerns, according to sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
They said the thrust will be to mobilise resources and implement all five guarantees promised in the Congress party’s poll manifesto.
Siddaramaiah has stated that more than Rs 50,000 crores are required for this year for the free schemes.
The challenge will be to balance the development of the state and maintain fiscal discipline on the one hand and implement free schemes on the other hand to make solid grounds for winning maximum seats in the Lok Sabha elections next year.
The sources also explained that the Congress government want to send a message to the nation against the BJP.
They hinted at Siddaramaiah attacking the BJP-led Central government in terms of GST share and the alleged non-cooperation of the Centre to sell rice to the state.
The state government has inevitability to mobilise resources for guarantees and reserve funds for major irrigation and development projects such as Ettinahole, Mekedatu, Upper Krishna, Upper Bhadra, Kalasa Banduri and Alamatti.
Along with this, Siddaramaiah also has the challenge to ensure proper funds for the development of Bengaluru.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has submitted proposal to build 17 flyovers to ease traffic woes. But the civic agencies are yet to release Rs 7,000 crore pending bills to contractors.
The state government will also have to provide sufficient funds for the suburban rail project and new metro routes aimed at decongesting Bengaluru.
The Chief Minister has held non-stop meetings with the Finance Department for the presentation of his 14th Budget for the past 25 days .
From the first budget presented by Siddaramaiah as Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister in 1995-96 to the last budget presented as Chief Minister in his previous term for 2018-19, the shadows of Basavanna, Dr. B.R Ambedkar, Ram Manohar Lohia and Devaraja Urs are clearly seen and documented in all 13 Budgets.
In the seven budgets presented from 1995-96, socialist aspirations, thoughts and concerns were significantly seen.
In the six budgets from 2013-14 to 2018-19, there were clear traces and documents to say that the principles and ideals of the Ahinda movement had led Siddaramaiah.
In these two phases of budgets, large amount of money has been allocated to agriculture, industry, service sector and skill development. Allocation of funds to the Ahinda and Shudra communities which constitute 85 per cent of the total population, is a testimony to Basavanna’s ideal of equal share for all, they said.
In the 14th budget which is considered as the most challenging one, it can be estimated from the statements of the Chief Minister made in the last one week , that the five guarantees will provide adequate relief to the hardships of all castes and classes of people.
Revenues receipts in the 13 budget so far and expenditure incurred have all increased each year. Especially, the revenue surplus from Rs 127 crore to Rs 910 crore from 2014-15 to 2018-19 shows that Siddaramaiah has not violated financial discipline, said the CMO.
Apart from the fact that he has presented the highest number of budgets in the state, Siddaramaiah is also reputed for following fiscal discipline and implementing pro people programmes .
As Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister, he had drafted and implemented the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, 1991.
Similarly, the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act 2002 simplified the government’s fiscal procedures and made the Medium Term Fiscal Plan Estimates (MTFP) mandatory in the legislature along with the annual budget, said CMO statement.
“States had the right and authority to levy taxes during the presentation of 13 budgets so far. Now this right of states has been curbed by central GST. In addition, the central government has artificially created a formidable challenge for Siddaramaiah by refusing to provide rice to the Annabhagya scheme.
“Amid GST and non-cooperation from the Centre, the Chief Minister has announced that five guarantee schemes will definitely be implemented this financial year itself. The beneficiaries of the five Guarantee Schemes are proving that the government is not restricted to One Party or One Religion,” the statement added.