BENGALURU: Making no secret of Karnataka’s worrisome fiscal situation, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa deemed his budget ‘people-friendly’ and ‘balanced’ in the face of adversities. Speaking to reporters after presenting budget 2021-2022 — the State’s first revenue deficit budget — Yediyurappa said that despite a severe shortfall in revenues, all committed expenditures have been ensured. Even as the CM clubbed departments under umbrella sectors, he denied any reduction in funds for any departments despite Covid and the lockdown that hit production and revenue severely.
“From this point of financial constraints, this is a balanced budget bringing relief in a difficult situation. I have attempted to formulate an all-inclusive budget despite the adverse situation,” he said. The CM stressed that taxes have not been increased, but refused to comment whether fuel cess would be reduced.
Conscious of the criticism over skewed regional and caste representation in his Cabinet, he said efforts have been made to maintain a balance in the budget by giving importance to all classes, sectors and districts. While the budget speech indicated a lessened allocation of `26,005 crore under the SCs Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan, he said a revised allocation of `26,930 crore on par with last year’s allocation has been made.
“Natural calamities and then Covid brought economic activity to a halt. We have seen a recovery in receipts, but the initial losses have been heavy. We have had to make changes to the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act to make up for losses,” he said.
Unlike the Centre, the State Government is currently not contemplating disinvestment of state-owned PSUs. With the Centre allowing an additional 1% borrowing, Karnataka is set to amend the Fiscal Responsibility Act for the second consecutive time. Miffed with the Congress walking out, he said the party is setting a bad precedent. “They should debate the budget in the House. Has there ever been such an instance where a walkout is staged during a budget,” he asked.