In keeping with expectations, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Friday presented a please-all Budget for 2013-14 with an outlay of Rs 1,17,005 crore.
With Assembly elections three months away, Shettar the finance minister gave in to Shettar the politician, as he left no section of society out in doling out goodies.
From farmers to government staff, students to the elderly, poor to religious institutions and traders to realtors, everybody had something to cheer in this Budget with a Rs 585.1 crore surplus.
However, implementation of the Budget depends on the poll outcome. If a non-BJP government comes to power, it is highly likely that they will present a new Budget .
In his 225 -minute Budget speech, Shettar announced Rs 2-per-kg rice to BPL families with effect from April 1, creation of 43 new taluks (a long-pending demand) and five percent hike in HRA for state government employees working in Bangalore. Monthly pensions were hiked across social security schemes among others.
Realising the crucial role of Bangaloreans — who send 27 members to the Assembly — in the elections, Shettar announced a Rs 6,203-crore package for the city which included flyovers, underpasses and initiatives in waste management.
Presenting his maiden Budget, the CM continued with the trend of opening the coffers to mutts and religious institutions started by B S Yeddyurappa. But he has adopted a more secular path, doling out Rs 250 crore to mutts of all communities.
The CM did not raise any taxes. In fact, he reduced taxes on several goods like domestic containers, footwear priced upto Rs 200, doors, window frames and air compressors and their parts. This apart, paddy, rice, wheat, pulses and products of rice and wheat continue to enjoy tax exemption.
He also announced the restoration of VAT to 5 percent and 14 percent from August. VAT had been hiked by 0.5 percentage points on both these slabs last year to mobilise funds for the farm-loan waiver scheme.
In a boost to the realty sector, he capped at Rs 1.5 lakh the registration fee for joint development agreements and related power of attorney. Earlier, there was no cap on the fee, which is one per cent of the project cost.