With elections on mind; Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah comes up with freebies in Budget 2017

Targeting the upcoming elections in the state, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in his populist Budget has announced many freebies on Wednesday. During the ongoing Budget session, he announced that the additional excise duty on the liquor will be removed.

Targeting the upcoming elections in the state, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in his populist Budget has announced many freebies on Wednesday. During the ongoing Budget session, he announced that the additional excise duty on the liquor will be removed.

The state government has also abolished the Value Added tax (VAT) charges on wine, beer and hard liquor.

The new rules would be applicable from April 1. The administrative fee of Rs 2 per litre on export and Re 1 per litre on spirit (excluding ethanol) is suggested to be removed in the Budget.

In a relief to cinema lovers of the state, the government also proposed to curb movie ticket at just Rs 200 at all theatres and multiplexes, which would otherwise go up to Rs 500.

Inspired from the Amma canteens introduced by late Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister allocated Rs 100 crore for the setting up of 198 Namma Canteens in Bengaluru.

Breakfast at these canteens would be provided for Rs 5, lunch and dinner for Rs 10.

With Karnataka being the largest state currently being ruled by the Congress party, Siddaramiah's populist budget has been tailored with an eye on polls. A senior bureaucrat said, "Since some of these projects and policies will take time to show impact on ground, CM was keen it be announced in the penultimate year of the current assembly, so its impact could be felt."

Siddaramiah is an old hand at managing the state's finances and this is a record 12th state budget that he is presenting. Even when he was with the Janata Dal, he had wielded the finance portfolio. The budget clearly shows that it has borrowed successful populist programmes from other states, like free laptops for engineering, medical and polytechnic students, apart from increasing the quantum of subsidised foodgrains provided to BPL card holders and shoes, socks and school dress for girl students.

The state government also has lavished some attention on the infrastructure needs of Bangalore. Widening of an existing flyover, under bridges to be built as well as 3000 flats to be constructed and sold by Bangalore Development Authority.