Bengaluru, (PTI): Despite financial stress, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa tried to focus on agriculture and irrigation in his budget for 2020-21, proposing to allocate Rs 500 crore to take up the works of Kalasa and Banduri Nalas under the Mhadei river project.
He proposed to waive the interest on default farm loans given for the purchase of agricultural equipment by cooperative banks, benefiting about 92,000 farmers.
The Chief Minister said, the state government is committed to the "speedy continuation" of the much anticipated Mhadei project, which is very helpful for the people and farmers of the North Karnataka region.
Noting that the central government has issued the notification as per the direction of the Supreme Court, he said, "We congratulate the Central government for this".
In accordance with the notification, the state government will provide Rs 500 crore in 2020-21 to take up the works of Kalasa and Banduri Nalas under the Mhadei Project.
The project involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, the tributaries of the Mhadei River.
Focusing on irrigation, Yediyurappa said, the government will accord priority to the "Yettinahole Project" to provide safe drinking water expeditiously to the districts of Hassan, Chikkamagaluru, Tumakuru, Bengaluru Rural, Ramanagara, Chikkaballapura and Kolar which are facing severe scarcity.
A program has been formulated to complete the Lift component works of the first stage of this project and to commission it on a trial basis in the coming monsoon season, he said, adding that "Rs 1,500 crore will be provided to this project in the year 2020-21."
Yediyurappa said it had been proposed to launch new lift irrigation projects in view of demands and these would be implemented at an expenditure of Rs 5,000 crore.
Noting that repayment of the medium and long term loans given by banks in the cooperative sector for the purchase of agricultural equipment like tractor and tiller to the farmers had been very low, he announced a waiver of interest on such default loans.
"For this purpose, Rs 466 crore would be provided in the year 2020-21. By this scheme, 92,000 farmers in the state would be benefited," he added.
Also, the government would bring in a new agricultural policy to encourage water security, land bank and mass cultivation and micro-irrigation farmers among others.
For 2020-21, a total amount of Rs 32,259 crore is provided for the agriculture and allied activities sector.
The budget proposed Rs 200 crore allocation for developing non-notified slums in ten metropolitan cities, including the state capital, which is inhabited by a large number of minorities.
He announced Rs 200 crore for the comprehensive development of the Christian community.