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Highlights of Karnataka Budget 2024: Significant Insights

This marks Siddaramaiah’s 15th Budget as the Finance Minister of Karnataka, and the second under the current Congress administration.

With an outlay of ₹3.6 lakh crore, the budget prioritizes several key areas while aiming to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth. Here’s a breakdown of the key points and a deeper dive into specific sectors:

Key Points:

  • Fiscal Consolidation: The budget aims to reduce the fiscal deficit to 2.6% of GSDP from 3.2% in the previous year. This aligns with the central government’s target and emphasizes financial prudence.
  • Infrastructure Push: A significant allocation has been made for infrastructure development, including roads, bridges, and urban infrastructure projects. This aims to boost connectivity and economic activity.
  • Social Welfare: The budget focuses on social welfare schemes, with increased allocations for education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation programs. This underscores the government’s commitment to inclusive development.
  • Agriculture and Irrigation: The budget prioritizes farmers’ welfare with allocations for irrigation projects, subsidies, and support for agricultural markets. This seeks to address rural distress and boost agricultural productivity.
  • Technology and Innovation: The budget encourages technology adoption and innovation by allocating funds for startups, digital initiatives, and skill development programs. This aims to equip the state for the future economy.

Sector-Specific Analysis

Horticulture:

  • One Farm One Crop Scheme: Introduced in 12 horticulture farms to identify suitable crops based on the agro-climatic conditions. A one-time grant of Rs. 10 crore has been earmarked.
  • Potato Seed Production: Support for the production of disease-free potato seeds through subsidies and technical guidance.
  • Integrated Horticulture Mission: Continued focus on this mission with an allocation of Rs. 850 crore to promote fruit, vegetable, and spice cultivation.
  • Market Infrastructure: Setting up 50 new fish markets and construction of small harbours to improve accessibility and marketing of horticultural produce.

Fisheries:

  • Subsidy for Brackish Water Fish Farming: 50% subsidy to farmers undertaking fish farming in land unsuitable for agriculture due to salinity.
  • Fish Pond Construction: Financial assistance of Rs. 50,000 per hectare for constructing fish ponds in 2000 hectares.
  • Mechanization: Promoting mechanization in fisheries through subsidies for boats and fishing gear.
  • Cold Chain Infrastructure: Development of cold chain infrastructure to reduce post-harvest losses and improve market access.

Women & Child Development:

  • Anganwadi Upgradation: Rs. 500 crore allocated for upgrading Anganwadi centres, impacting nutrition and early childhood development.
  • Stree Shakti Nidhi: Scheme to empower women entrepreneurs through access to loans and skill development programs.
  • Balika Bhagya: Continued support for the scheme providing financial assistance to families with girl children.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Women: Continued implementation of the scheme aimed at providing economic and social empowerment to women.

Agriculture:

  • The budget allocated ₹34,000 crore to the agriculture sector, focusing on irrigation infrastructure, farmer income support, and market access.
  • A new scheme aims to provide ₹10,000 per hectare to farmers growing alternative crops.
  • Concerns remain regarding the adequacy of funds for crop loan waivers and the implementation efficiency of schemes.

Infrastructure:

  • ₹73,000 crore has been allocated for infrastructure development, emphasizing road construction, urban infrastructure projects, and improved connectivity.
  • This investment aims to create jobs, improve logistics, and boost economic activity.
  • The success hinges on timely project execution and efficient utilization of funds.

Social Welfare:

  • The budget increased allocations for education, healthcare, and poverty alleviation programs.
  • A flagship scheme aims to provide free laptops to all college students, promoting digital literacy.
  • Concerns exist regarding the effectiveness of targeted schemes reaching the intended beneficiaries and the need for improved healthcare infrastructure in rural areas.

Overall, the Karnataka Budget 2024 reflects the government’s focus on fiscal consolidation, infrastructure development, social welfare, and agriculture. While the allocations seem promising, the success of the budget will depend on effective implementation, addressing existing concerns, and achieving the desired outcomes in each sector.

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