Yeddyurappa presents surplus budget; free power to farmers

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Bangalore, Jul 17 (UNI) The first BJP Government in the South today presented a surplus, farmer-friendly budget in Karnataka for Rs 18.85 crore for 2008-09, with free power supply to irrigation pumpsets up to ten HP, Rs two incentive per litre of milk, allocation of Rs 500 crore for Agriculture Revolving Fund and setting up of an 'Agriculture Mission' being the highlights.

Presenting the budget for the third consecutive year in the State Assembly, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who also holds the Finance portfolio, estimated a revenue receipt of Rs 55,273.94 crore, including Rs 47,240.31 crore and Rs 8,033.63 crore revenue and capital receipts respectively, excluding a surplus opening balance of Rs 58.32 crore.

The State Government was expected to raise Rs 31,875.85 crore in tax revenue and Rs 1,931.65 crore in non-tax revenue in addition to Rs 1,571.29 crore from loans from the Central Government and another Rs 5,248.42 crore from RBI and other financial institutions.

Mr Yeddyurappa kept his poll promise of ensuring free power supply to farmers having IP sets up to ten HP, to be effective from August one next. The consequent burden on the exchequer would be Rs 2,050 crore per annum.

He announced a one-time benefit of Rs 1,000 per family to 50 lakh small and marginal farmers, dependent totally on dry farming, due to monsoon failure. He also announced loans at three per cent interest for farmers, fishermen and weavers. Sthree Shakthi Self Help Groups would get six per cent interest subsidy on loans.

The Chief Minister proposed to enhance the retirement age for State Government employees from the present 58 to 60 years on the lines of the Central Government move. There was some good news for the senior citizens in the form of 25 per cent concession in bus fares in State-owned buses.


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