Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday, defended the 2014-15 budget estimates saying its aim is to usher in social justice, economic progress and inclusive growth, apart from being pro-people.
It is a “revolutionary” one fulfilling several promises of the Congress in its election manifesto, he said, seeking the approval of the members for vote-on-account until July 31.
He was replying to members who participated in the debate on the budget estimates in the Legislative Assembly. Food production had surpassed the targeted 130 lakh tonnes in 2013-14, and a sum of Rs. 500 crore had been earmarked for dryland farming. The government was gearing up to tackle the drought situation, ensure drinking water supply and prevent migration of people from villages.
The problems being faced by cardamom, arecanut, coconut, coffee, groundnut, pomegranate and sugarcane growers would be addressed, Mr. Siddaramaiah promised. Rural development, health and education would be given priority.
Without being harsh to criticism on the budget, yet displaying tinges of sarcasm, Mr. Siddaramaiah said he would welcome both criticism and suggestions on the budget estimates.
Of the 165 assurances made by the Congress in its election manifesto, 65 were fulfilled before the presentation of the budget and another 30 were addressed in the budget, he said. As many as 272 Government Orders had been issued pertaining to the promises made by the government, apart from release of funds to carry out those programmes, he added.
The Chief Minister cautioned officials to spend money judiciously under the tribal sub-plan and special component plan. However, Mr. Siddaramaiah conceded that the State’s own tax mobilisation was low and this was the case across the country. To add to it, the State’s share of Central taxes too had shown a downward trend.
When the Leader of Opposition Jagadish Shettar stated that the Chief Minister had not replied to his queries properly and that he was thoroughly dissatisfied, Mr. Siddaramaiah quipped: “I have lived up to the expectations of the people in tune with their needs in presenting the budget estimates.”