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Gowda presents Karnataka Budget, Yeddyurappa heads to Delhi


March 21, 2012 - Bangalore/New Delhi

Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda on Wednesday presented the budget for 2012-2013 in the state assembly amid the ongoing political storm over B.S. Yeddyurappa's demand for reinstatement to the top post.

Gowda, who also holds the finance portfolio, in his budget speech said: "I propose to levy five percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on 'beedies' and increase it by two percent on 'tobacco' products to 17 percent from 15 percent. But VAT on ready-to-cook 'chapathi and parantha' will be reduced by nine percent to five percent from 14 percent."

He has also proposed to drastically reduce sales tax on high-speed diesel sold to foreign-going vessels by a whopping 17 percent to one percent from 18 percent.

"With effective enforcement, we expect a volume growth of seven percent in liquor sales across the state in the new fiscal to achieve a revenue target of Rs.10, 775 crore," said Gowda.

"Similarly, VAT on un-ginned raw cotton will be reduced by three percent to two percent from five percent and on surgical footwear and black boards by nine percent to five percent from 14 percent, while Braille watches will be fully exempted from VAT," he added.

Meanwhile, Karnataka strongman Yeddyurappa is expected to arrive in New Delhi from Bangalore later in the day to meet the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central leadership amid reports that he may once again be given the chief minister's post.

The BJP central leadership had forced Yeddyurappa to quit in July 2011 after he was indicted by the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Former Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde's inquiry into mining graft in Karnataka had accused Yeddyurappa and other key officials for causing a loss of at least 160 billion rupees to the state exchequer between 2006 and 2010.

Yeddyurappa tendered his resignation on July 31 following allegations of corruption.

The Karnataka High Court had earlier this month granted a major relief to Yeddyurappa by setting aside the former Lokayukta's report on illegal mining, which indicted him.

The court also quashed the permission to register an FIR, granted by Karnataka Governor H. R. Bhardwaj, against Yeddyurappa.

The High Court shot down the Yeddyurappa section of the Lokayukta report on the ground that he was not given an opportunity to defend himself, and that there was no evidence of favours granted or misuse of his position.

Following the High Court's judgement, Yeddyurappa has stepped up his demand for reinstatement as chief minister.

ANI

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