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`Budget disappointing and inflationary'

By Our Special Correspondent

GULBARGA, JULY 22. The Hyderabad Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HKCCI) today described the budget proposals presented by the Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister, Siddaramaiah, on July 19 as disappointing and inflationary.

In a statement released here today, the president of the chamber, Suresh G. Nandyal, and the honorary secretary, Umakanth Nigudgi, said that the Minister had not made a serious attempt to remove regional imbalances in the development of backward areas, particularly in the Hyderabad Karnataka region, in the budget.

Mr. Nandyal noted that Rs. 7,170 crores was, however, allocated for the purpose in the budget and that special packages for the development of 37 most backward taluks was announced.

He said a few measures announced in the budget, including establishment of food park at Jewargi, air services in Gulbarga, establishment of the Basava Kalyan Development Authority, declaring Gulbarga as heritage centre, proposal to enhance the allocation to Hyderabad Karnataka Development Board, and assurance regarding amendment to Article 371 were all "palliative measures" and would not help in the development of the backward region.

According to the release, the budget had also not taken any serious effort to create a ground for the VAT system to be implemented from April 01, 2005.

Mr. Nandyal and Mr. Nigudgi criticised the budget proposals for higher rate of taxes for food items, cement, diesel, and computers, which would burden the common man.

They opined that the levy of higher rate of tax on cement would dampen the competitive spirit of major industries operating in the region.

There had been no effort to give a fillip to industrial development and only Rs. 65 crores had been allocated for the payment of subsidies due to small-scale units, the release said.

These measures would not help in increasing trade transactions and would give room for diversion of trade to neighbouring States, adversely affecting the revenue of the State.

The allocation of Rs. 20 crores for the establishment of the permanent bench of the High Court in North Karnataka was also insufficient, the release said.

The HKCCI welcomed the proposal to abolish the online lottery.

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