The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, presented the state’s annual budget today. Siddaramaiah also holds the Finance portfolio. This is his 12th budget as finance minister, among the highest in Indian history. It will also be his final full-fledged budget before the state goes to the polls for its election next year.
Highlights of the state budget:
- The Karnataka government has lifted Value Added Tax (VAT) on wine, beer, and hard liquor. It will be removed from April 1.
- The administrative fee of Rs 2 per litre on export and Re 1 per litre on spirit (excluding ethanol) is to be withdrawn.
- The government announced plans to cap movie ticket prices at Rs 200 at all cinema theatres, including multiplexes. (This has been a long-pending public demand – especially in Bengaluru, where ticket prices can rise up to Rs 500.)
- High-end motorbike prices will go up, with the motor vehicle tax being hiked from 12% to 18%. This will apply to all motorbikes that cost more than Rs 1 lakh.
- A government-subsidised chain of food centres similar to the ones in Tamil Nadu will be initiated. This chain will be called ‘Namma Canteen’, modelled along the lines of late Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa’s ‘Amma Canteen’. ‘Namma Canteen’ will sell breakfast at Rs 5 and lunch at Rs 10.
- Agriculture in the state has been allocated Rs 5080 crore.
- The total expenditure in the budget amounts to around Rs 1.86 lakh crore.
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