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Karnataka needs Rs 31,000 cr for backward areas: Panel

Our Bureau

In spite of their high growth rate, most of the northern districts are way behind the south in per capita income and other indices.

BANGALORE, June 26

KARNATAKA needs to invest Rs 31,000 crore during the decade to develop its backward areas. This includes an additional special grant of Rs 16,000 crore over the next eight years and a budgetary allocation of Rs 15,000 crore, according to the high-power committee for redress of regional imbalances.

The committee chairman and economist, Dr D.M. Nanjundappa, submitted the report to the Chief Minister, Mr S. M. Krishna, who assured that the recommendations would be evaluated and steps be taken to implement them.

Dr Nanjundappa said 60 per cent or Rs 9,600 crore of the proposed additional funding should be allocated to the backward northern districts.

He said the existing regional development boards for Hyderabad-Karnatak and Malnad areas should be abolished in view of their poor performance. Instead, an alternative mechanism should be set up by a statutory amendment to Article 371 to allow disbursement to regions by the Governor on the Maharashtra model.

The committee said 144 of the 175 taluks in the State are backward — 59 of them in the north and 55 in the south. In spite of their high growth rate during 1956-2000, most of the northern districts are way behind the south in per capita income and other indices.

Gulbarga, which figures among the most backward, would need an outlay of Rs 6,400 crore while Belgaum would require Rs 3,200 crore.

Out of the Rs 6,400 crore that the more developed south should get, 25 per cent or Rs 4,000 crore should go to Bangalore and Rs 2,400 crore to Mysore areas.

The report said funds should be raised through user charges for water, power and through disinvestment of State PSUs.

The State has invested Rs 17,000 crore in irrigation, Rs 22,000 crore in State PSUs and Rs 16,000 crore in power generation and distribution.

The report also recommended amendment to the Command Areas Act, rural roads upgradation plan estimated at Rs 900 crore and direct rail connectivity between Gulbarga and Bangalore, Gulbarga and Hyderabad, Mysore and Madikeri, and Hassan and Chikmagalur.

It also suggested a farm price stabilisation corpus of Rs 1,000 crore, education and employment guaran

tee schemes in the backward taluks, farm finance company exclusively for the north and based in Gulbarga and 50 per cent reservation for the north in Karnataka Public Service Commission selections.

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