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Will present full budget in July: Kumaraswamy

Bengaluru, June 20: Settling speculation over the nature of the state budget for fiscal 2018-19, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said he would present a full budget in July. “I will present a full budget for the state in July first week,” Kumaraswamy told reporters at the Press Club in his maiden press conference after assuming office on May 23. He said Congress President Rahul Gandhi had agreed to his proposal for a full-fledged budget with proposals of both the partners. “When I discussed the issue with Gandhi at his house in New Delhi, he asked me to go ahead with a full budget and not to worry about what others may say on his decision in the interests of the state and its people,” Kumaraswamy said.

His clarification came two days after former Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told the media here that Kumaraswamy need not present a full budget, as he had already presented a budget for the fiscal in February ahead of the May 12 assembly election. Downplaying Siddaramaiah’s statement, Kumaraswamy said a new government had every right to present its own budget based on its poll manifesto and in the interests of the people across the state. “Though our party (JD-S) did not get majority to implement our poll manifesto, especially farm loans, we are committed to fulfil as many needs of the people, especially farmers, the poor, downtrodden and women,” he said.

The coordination committee of the alliance partners has decided to draft a common minimum programme containing promises they made to the people prior to the election. As the Congress had agreed to support the JD-S in forming the third coalition government in the southern state over a decade later, ostensibly to keep the BJP out of power, the Chief Minister said he was not only committed to continue many of the social welfare schemes of the previous government, but also flag new programmes that were common to both the parties.

Meanwhile, a Janata Dal-Secular leader told IANS that “every newly elected government is entitled to present its own budget at the state and central level in a democratic set-up like ours to reflect the aspirations and expectations of the people across the state or country”. The Chief Minister also got Gandhi’s approval to waive loans of farmers with interest that were borrowed from the state cooperative banks, rural, regional and state-run banks. (IANS)

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