CM BS Yediyurappa banks on budget moves, divine help to lift economy | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Chief minister BS Yediyurappa, who will present his eighth budget on Monday, appears to have sought divine intervention for a better fiscal as his government looks to shore up revenue and revive the economy. After consulting astrologers, his office has carefully picked the time of 12.05pm for him to table the 2021-22 budget in the assembly.
According to astrologer Daivajna KN Somayaji, whose advice was reportedly sought, the chosen time is called ‘Abhijit Muhurat’, which symbolises victory and is considered auspicious for starting a new venture. Last week, Yediyurappa performed a special puja at the Raghavendra Swamy Mutt in the city, seeking some help from above.
“These rituals may give us a much-needed psychological boost. But apart from this, we have done strong groundwork to prepare a budget relevant to the prevailing financial situation. It will ensure growth without burdening people much with taxes,” said an official.
One area of considerable public interest is high fuel prices. Yediyurappa had increased the state tax on petrol and diesel by 3 per cent (Rs 1.6 per litre) last year, but he is unlikely to touch the rate this time. Recently, he said that he didn’t plan to propose tax hikes, and traders are hoping that he won’t raise the levies on property and vehicle registration. An official said that Yediyurappa might marginally increase the excise duty on liquor.
The view in the industry is that the government should focus on other sources of revenue. “This is the time for the government to mobilise resources through nontax revenue. Asset monetisation, borrowings and other means look prudent,” said BT Manohar, the taxation chairman at the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industries.
Falling revenues had earlier forced Yediyurappa to consider cutting the budget size from Rs 2.3 lakh crore in 2020-21 to Rs 2.1 lakh crore this fiscal. Improving collections of commercial taxes and excise duty have changed his mind and he has reportedly increased the budget outlay by at least 10 per cent.
The budget will be unveiled on International Women’s Day and the chief minister is expected to allot more funds to welfare programmes for women.
The agriculture sector, which had taken the highest cut (24 per cent) last time, is also expected to get a substantial allocation. The allocation may include funds for new cow shelters across the state.
Meanwhile, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy has opposed the proposal to include petrol and diesel under the GST regime, saying it would lead to revenue loss for states. “The Centre seems to be using people’s anger against price rise as an opportunity to bring petroleum products into the ambit of GST. It is hatching a systematic conspiracy to achieve this,” he alleged in a tweet.

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Sagar Biswas

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