Replying to Budget discussions in the Legislative Assembly, Yeddyurappa, who also holds the Finance portfolio, however, did not agree to the demand by Opposition parties and traders seeking roll back of fresh taxes, including the hike in VAT slabs. The government stuck to its stand of mobilising Rs 1,020 crore by revising various taxes.
In keeping with his Budget speech, Yeddyurappa had more sops for farmers. He announced that the government will bear 50 per cent cost in purchase of tractors, tillers and other agriculture equipment (costing up to Rs 50,000) by farmers. In addition, he has already declared that the government would bear the interest on loans availed by farmers for their children’s higher education. The subsidy component of these two schemes add up to Rs 120 crore, including education loans of Rs 20 crore.
“We will come out with guidelines for availing the loans before the commencement of the seat selection process for admission to professional colleges,” Yeddyurappa said.
To meet drinking water requirements in summer, Yeddyurappa announced an additional Rs 100 crore, including Rs 25 crore for Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).
Defending his decision to hike VAT slabs from 13.5 to 14 per cent on several commodities, including electric and electronics goods, and the VAT slab from 1 to 2 per cent on gold/jewellery, Yeddyurappa said these moves will not affect the poor.
The Appropriation Bill, supplementary estimates and various financial consequential bills, including the hike effected in VAT rates, stamp and registration charges, cess on purchase of motor vehicles, was passed by a voice vote in the absence of Congress members who had staged a walk out.
The sector-wise break-up of additional resource mobilisation for the 2011-12 fiscal include commercial taxes (Rs 500 crore, including betting tax of Rs 40 crore, and gold and jewellery Rs 70 crore), excise (Rs 200 crore), stamps and registration (Rs 300 crore), cess on motor vehicle tax (Rs 20 crore).
Some other announcements the chief minister made were: Rs 100 crore, including Rs 42 crore Nabard loan for construction of 100 godowns for storing agri-produce, Rs 20 crore for housing facilities for weavers, an additional grant of Rs 100 crore for establishing Lalbag-like botanical gardens in district headquarters, Rs 1 crore to each of the 30 zilla panchayats, Rs 5 crore for a new auditorium for the Maharaja’s College, Mysore, and Rs 10 crore for buying furniture for mini Vidhana Soudhas in districts.