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New economy sectors to add 10 lakh jobs: Krishna

Our Bureau

Bangalore , Nov. 5

INFOTECH, IT-enabled services and electronic hardware sectors will be the new drivers of the employment scene. They will add an estimated 10 lakh jobs by 2008, the Chief Minister, Mr S.M. Krishna, said here on Wednesday.

These new economy sectors have so far generated two lakh jobs at a time when public sector enterprises are being downsized and over 60,000 vacant government posts axed in recent years. The technology-led sectors include biotechnology, infrastructure and high-end manufacturing.

Employment creation, he said, has been the main concern of the Government as 35-odd public enterprises are being restructured for closure or privatisation and are promoting exit schemes among their employees.

At an interaction with members of the Bangalore Press Club and the Reporters' Guild, Mr Krishna, who holds the finance portfolio, dwelt at length on the economic reforms taken up by his government in the past four years.

According to him, the per capita Gross State Domestic Product has seen a significant growth from Rs 10,000 crore in 1995-96 to Rs 22,000 crore in 2003. The Mid-Term Fiscal Policy addressed reduction of fiscal and revenue deficits and its effects are coming to be seen. Going by the current economic indicators, Mr Krishna said he was confident of bringing down the fiscal deficit to the targeted 3 per cent of the GSDP by 2005-06.

The programme of slashing the revenue deficit has been upset by three successive droughts but the State is still heading towards the target. "My Finance Department assures me that we are on course," he said.

A major achievement has been on the excise front, marked by buoyant tax and higher receipts. This has been especially so in the three months since the Beverages Corporation was created to check "the seconds sale of liquor which was eating away our vitals". To date, sale of 8.24 lakh liquor cases has been accounted for compared with just two lakh cases a year in the past. (The excise revenue went up to Rs 90 crore in just September this year compared with the earlier Rs 35 crore in a whole year.)

Aided by a vibrant manufacturing sector, the commercial taxes revenue touched Rs 4,197 crore till September and is set to meet the 2003-04 target of Rs 8,000 crore. Though taxes and incidence have been rationalised under a reforms programme and the State had high expectations of switching over to a uniform VAT regime this year, he regretted that the Centre and a few other States set back its implementation.

The stamp-paperless system has overcome its teething troubles and generated revenue of Rs 600 crore till the end of September.

Mr Krishna said the State has established its supremacy in software exports, with a 2002-03 figure of Rs 14,000 crore. This tops the combined software exports of Tamil Nadu (Rs 7,500 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 4,100 crore), Kerala (Rs 205 crore) and Pondicherry (Rs 15 crore).

The State is trying to meet the Rs 50,000-crore export projection by adding infrastructure support such as the Bangalore-Mangalore link via Mysore and Bantwal. The work on this will begin in December.

However, the power sector has fallen short of expectations. As one small step, the Government will be signing an MoU with BHEL for the Vijayanagar Thermal Plant on November 10. The Bidadi plant is also being speeded up, he said.

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