Karnataka government presented its budget on 4-Mar’22. The budget on cursory glance appears to tick all the right boxes and shows right intent. But the budget misses out on key aspects and fails to address few very immediate and important requirements.

Though the education budget appears to have increased and forms a major percentage of the budgetary allocations, it does not address the key needs. While the decision to regulate fees in private medical colleges is welcome, below are few points which have not been addressed at all.

  • Hampi University, only Kannada university in the world has been facing severe fund crunch. Apart from mere announcement of intent to plan and strengthen university, the budget does not spell out any grants or roadmap to address the fund crunch faced by university. Similarly, no specific grants have been announced for any large universities like VTU, BU.
  • All the sections are limping back to normalcy after 2 grave years of pandemic. Many students have lost their parents and many parents have lost their jobs or seen their businesses suffer serious losses. The budget does not provide any relief in terms of scholarships to students and also steps to get drop outs back to classrooms find no mention in the budget.
  • Announcement to merge multiple residential schools run by minority department in a place is grossly misplaced. It may result in many students dropping out and will have negative impact on the educational upliftment of the minorities. Mere grant of 25cr for upliftment of infrastructure in these schools in no means sufficient.
  • No special funds have been set aside for grandeur of implementing NEP 2020.

In terms of minority development and upliftment, the budget appears to be too little and confounding. Meagre allocation of 50crs each has been allocated for development of Christians and together for Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists. However, Budget does not spell out any grants specifically for Muslims and other minorities.

Another striking miss has been the lack of allocation for environmental conservation and development of sustainable means. Climate crisis are real and the budget does spell out any plans or provides any grants for corrective actions apart from funds for mitigating impact on natural and human impact on forests.

While budget does mention few plans on restoring on forts in Bidar and Kalburgi it ignores other monuments especially in Vijayapura. ‘Adopt a monument’ or in other words privatising historical monuments appears to be step in wrong direction and may pose challenge to maintenance of structure in original form as private firms may lack required expertise to maintain monuments.

Levying fees for accessing sport stadiums by introducing pay and use model negates the very objective of sports promotion. This steps grossly hampers the accessibility to many.

SIO Karnataka feels that the current budget succeeds in building perception but it fails to recognize key requirements and address actual issues. After two long years of pandemic a budget that would address the pertinent woes of all sections and sectors was expected but the current budget appears to have failed in this regard.