₹3 lakh crore Karnataka Budget 2023: Bommai presents last budget ahead of Assembly polls

Leaders of Congress led by Siddaramaiah protested with flowers on their ears — #Kivimelehoova — accusing BJP of fooling citizens

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 17, 2023 | 3:59 PM Updated Feb 17, 2023 | 3:59 PM

Karnataka Budget 2023

In a woo-all budget ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Friday, 17 February, presented an interim Karnataka budget for 2023-2024.

With a total size of ₹3,09,182 crore, Bommai presented a budget that doled out money for welfare schemes for farmers, women, religious groups, as also for several schemes for minority communities — something that wasn’t the case in the 2022-23 budget.

The last budget ahead of the Karnataka Assembly election allocated for ₹100 crore to develop Anjanadri hills — considered the birthplace of Lord Hanuman — and had an announcement on build a huge Rama temple in Ramanagara district marking the entry of the buzz around a ‘Rama temple’ in poll-bound Karnataka.

There were also several schemes announced for minority welfare, targeted programmes for specific castes, grants for religious mathas, and even land distribution initiatives for those who fall in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category.

In his nearly two-and-a-half-hour budget speech, Basavaraj Bommai made announcements of brand new schemes aimed at farmers, fishermen, women, and students, and also made a push for infrastructure from village roads to connecting national highways.

What’s in the budget?

Seeking to woo farmers in an election year, Bommai announced an increase in the limit of interest-free short-term loans given to them from ₹3 lakh to ₹5 lakh from the next financial year.

This would ensure the availability of hassle-free and need-based loan facilities for making necessary preparation for farm-related activities, Bommai, who also holds the finance portfolio, said while presenting the 2023-24 budget in the state Legislative Assembly.

“This year, loans of ₹25,000 crore will be distributed to more than 30 lakh farmers,” he said.

The government, Bommai said, decided to give an additional subsidy of ₹10,000 in the year 2023-24 under a new scheme ‘Bhoo Siri’ for ‘Kisan Credit Card’ holders.

The state would contribute ₹2,500 and NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) would give ₹7,500 for this scheme.

This would allow the farmers to purchase seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and other farm inputs in times of exigencies, the chief minister said.

Also read: Over 100 promises made by Bommai in previous budget unfulfilled

Jeevan Jyoti Vima Yojna

The implementation of Jeevan Jyothi Vima Yojane for small and marginal farmers’ families at an expenditure of ₹180 crore was also announced in the budget.

“This will benefit around 56 lakh farmers of the state,” he said.

Establishing a mega dairy with a processing capacity of two lakh litres of milk in Ballari district at a cost of ₹100 crore, a grant of ₹5 crore for the development of Mudhol Hound Dog Breed Housing facility, and the establishment of Seafood Park in Byndoor Taluk for 10,000 fishermen, were some of the other key announcements.

Noting that, for the first time after the Covid-19 pandemic, revenue receipts are estimated to be more than revenue expenditure by ₹402 crore, Bommai said this is a “revenue-surplus” budget.

The chief minister, in the budget, also announced a ‘Shrama Shakthi’ scheme that would provide financial assistance of ₹500 per head every month to landless women farm labourers through direct benefit transfer (DBT).

How Karnataka earns and spends 

The following visualisation (interactive) gives an insight into how the Karnataka government earns ₹100 and spends it.

Scheme for students, Data Centre announced

Aimed at enabling all children who graduate from high school to continue their higher education, he announced free education in Government Pre-University and Government Degree Colleges under the ‘CM Vidya Shakti Scheme’. This will benefit eight lakh students of the state, he added.

In a move to ensure data security, the government proposed to set up a cloud-based state data centre at an outlay of ₹590 crore for various departments and public sector undertakings.

Information technology (IT) is being used extensively in the administration of the state, Bommai said, adding the security of the administrative system is of extreme priority.

“In this backdrop, a 24X7 Cyber Security Operation Centre (CSOC) with cyber experts incorporating modern technology will be established to ensure the safety of government websites and online services and to ensure data security,” Bommai said.

Also read: Only 1 in 10 govt schools in Karnataka have internet facilities

State’s Economy

Citing advance estimates from the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Bommai said Karnataka has recorded a growth of 7.9 percent in 2022- 2023.

“An overview of sector-wise growth has revealed that growth in the service sector and industrial sectors have mainly contributed to the economic growth of the state. Compared to the previous fiscal year — in 2022-2023 —the service sector has recorded growth at 9.2 percent and the industrial sector at 5.1 percent. Despite erratic weather conditions, the agriculture sector has seen a growth of 5.5 percent. As a result, per capita income in the state has increased from ₹2.04 lakh to ₹3.32 lakh,” Bommai said.

Bommai added that growth in annual GST collection was at 26 percent compared to 2021-2022.

He said that there was also an increase in the collection of motor vehicle tax, and stamps and registration fees.

“There is an increase in state’s own tax collection by 21 percent up to January compared to the financial year 2021-2022,” he added.

“The state’s share of tax has increased to the extent of ₹4,813 crore due to the increase in the collection of direct and indirect taxes by the central government. The central government has estimated the state’s share of taxes at ₹37,252 crore for the year 2023- 2024. This is 25 percent higher compared to the budget estimates for 2022-2023,” Bommai said crediting the Union government for helping Karnataka maintain financial stability.

(With inputs from PTI)