Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah presented a revenue deficit Budget with a total outlay of ₹3.71 lakh crore. With major allocations of ₹1,20,373 crore being made to welfare programs, ₹52,000 core was allocated for five poll guarantees, made previously. The government projects for Karnataka’s economy to expand by 6.6 per cent in the financial year 2024-25.

This was Chief Ministers - who also holds the finance portfolio - 15th Budget, and 8th with the position of Chief Minister. The ₹52,000 crore is earmarked for the five guarantee schemes of Shakti, Gruhajyoti, Gruha Lakshmi, Yuvanidhi and Annabhagya. An average of ₹50,000 to ₹55,000 is transferred to each family every year through guarantee schemes. 

Amidst backlash from the opposition and claims of States’ coffers being drained, the Chief Minister defended that the implementation of Guarantee schemes has brought his government  “admiration from the entire world and the positive economic and social impact of the Guarantee schemes will become more clear with time.”

‘Unscientific implementation’

He also took a jibe at the central government, underscoring that a loss of ₹59,274 crore was incurred by the State due to “unscientific implementation” of GST in the last seven years.

“Though I have presented as revenue deficit Budget, I have increased the budgetary allocation for welfare programmes. I have ensured fiscal consolidation by keeping the fiscal deficit within 3 per cent of GSDP and total outstanding liabilities within 25 per cent of GSDP without compromising the capital expenditure,” Siddaramaiah said in his speech. 

In 2023-24, up to January ₹28,181 crore tax revenue has been collected from State Excise. The revenue collection target for 2024-25 to the Excise Department has been fixed at ₹38,525 crore, the Chief Minister noted. The government will be revising tax slabs for IML and beer, in order to rationalise the tax slabs and make them competitive with neighboring States

For improving infrastructure in government schools and pre-university colleges, in the current year, ₹850 crore will be allocated. Further, the emphasis was also on minority welfare. CM noted that construction work of Mangaluru Haj Bhavan will be undertaken at ₹10 crore, a provision of ₹50 crore will be made for the development of major pilgrimage destinations of Jains and  ₹200 crore will be provided for the development of Christian community.

Anna-Suvidha

Karnataka will also introduce a new social security scheme Anna-Suvidha, a home delivery app for the free delivery of food grains (PDS) to the doorstep of senior citizens above 80 years. 

The Platform-Based Gig Workers Fund and Welfare Fee Bill will also be introduced in order to provide livelihood security to Platform-Based Gig Workers. Through this Act, access will be levied on eligible online transactions and the money collected will be utilized for the welfare of gig workers.

For the development of  Bengaluru into a world-class city, the government has said it has conceptualised Brand Bengaluru. During this year, the government aims to focus on augmentation of resources, reducing traffic congestion, construction of quality roads, supply of clean drinking water and better public transport. 

The Chief Ministers also noted that three new programmes will be launched to maintain Karnataka’s top position in the start-up ecosystem, which include An early-stage funding programme that nurtures ideas and innovations to promote innovative endeavours, start-ups initiated by students or entrepreneurs, under Rajiv Gandhi Entrepreneurship Programme,  a new initiative to support early-stage women entrepreneurs with a sector-wise and targeted approach.  To promote Agri-start-ups in the State five acres of land will be provided to C-Camp Agri Innovation Park.

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