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Govt must prioritise industrial manufacturing clusters outside Bengaluru too, says expert

Kaul, development policy analyst and former IAS officer, discussed the inclusivity of the budget in terms of human development indicators.
Last Updated : 17 July 2023, 00:20 IST

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Rather than a lopsided focus on Bengaluru, a policy thrust could have been delivered to develop strong industrial manufacturing clusters in other cities and towns, said Sanjay Kaul, development policy analyst and former IAS officer, on Friday.

He was sharing his impressions of the July budget, specifically the government’s five guarantee schemes, at the 'Annual Endowment Lecture on Budgets' organised by the Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS) at the Indian Institute of World Culture, Basavanagudi. S Krishna Kumar, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Karnataka chaired the session.

Kaul discussed the inclusivity of the budget in terms of human development indicators while saying that the state would have limited fiscal space to take on new development programmes.

He delved into the allocation for various sectors, including education, health, electricity, transport, industry and development, and offered suggestions about improving them.

Speaking about the Shakti scheme, he said that expanding and improving the quality of the bus fleet should have been a priority as it is a more cost-effective way of moving people than a capex-intensive metro.

Kaul noted that significant improvements could be made across the sectoral break-up to improve the overall quality of life and reduce variance across the state. “The focus must remain on poor households. The onus is on us to ensure the government adopts people-centric development models,” he said.

S Krishna Kumar emphasised continuous civil society and academic engagement with the government and suggested the formation of a think tank or task force anchored by a policy organisation to flesh out some of the suggestions that emerged in the lecture.

The lecture was also attended by L K Atheeq, state finance secretary, who welcomed the suggestions and clarified some of the allocations made in the budget. "Challenges to allocate adequate funds for all programmes will be bigger for next year, where we need to watch out for how to fund capital expenditure, take up new initiatives and tackle rising debt levels," he said.

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Published 15 July 2023, 15:55 IST

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