Siddaramaiah presents record budget as gross borrowings poised to exceed

Bengaluru, Feb 16 (UNI) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday presented his record 15th budget with a budget size of Rs 3.71 lakh crore.

The state government’s estimated gross borrowings of around Rs 1.05 lakh crore during the 2024-25 fiscal, which is an excess of Rs 1 lakh crore for the first time in the state’s fiscal history.

Compared to the Rs 3.27 lakh crore budget presented by Siddaramaiah in July 2023, the budget size saw an increase of 13.45 percent to Rs 3.71 lakh crore. At the same time, borrowings swelled to Rs 1.05 lakh crore – a 23.5 percent increase compared to the gross borrowings of Rs 85,818 crore in the July budget.

Siddaramaiah also announced a hike in prices of Indian Made Liquor and beer, to increase revenue generation, which is the third time beer prices have been hiked over the past year.

Apart from continuing with the flagship guarantee schemes that propelled the Congress to power in the state, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah –

Under pressure from party legislators, Siddaramaiah has allocated funds for several infrastructure projects. The party legislators were complaining about the lack of funds to take up infrastructure projects in their constituencies due to the ‘implementation’ of five guarantee schemes.

The budget also increased outlays for the irrigation and public works departments, and deliberated upon various avenues to increase revenue for the government such as keeping business establishments open till 1 am on all days.

The budget also contemplates to monetise various assets of the state government and provides a big push for investments from the private sector under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

To keep his deputy DK Shivakumar satisfied amid CM gaddi’s race, Siddaramaiah allocated better funding compared to the ‘guarantee budget’ of July 2023. He also satisfied PWD Minister Satish Jarkiholi by allocating better funding to the department.

Among the major allocation for water resources was Rs 15,600 crore for constructing a balancing reservoir to augment the storage capacity of Tungabhadra Dam in Vijayanagar district and Rs 7,280 crore for new lift irrigation schemes and to rejuvenate old ones.

For PWD, Rs 5,736 crore was allocated for the upgradation of state highways and Rs 4,000 crore for Phase-5 of the State Highways Development Programme covering a length of 1,300 km, among others.

Earlier, Siddaramaiah’s budget presentation was interrupted by BJP and JDS MLAs, who staged a walkout and staged a protest saying that there was nothing for farmers in it.

He also mentioned the ‘losses’ suffered by Karnataka due to faulty implementation of GST, reduced share of state taxes and the Centre not releasing funds for the Upper Bhadra project announced in the 2023-24 Union budget.

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