Rising to the CHALLENGE

Naheed Ataulla | TNN

yeddyurappaBangalore: Ushering in the first BJP government down South, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa looks back on the report card of his 14 month-old government in an interview to The Times of India.

What were the challenges before the first BJP government, when it assumed office in May 2008?

There were many challenges before me when I entered office. There was scarcity of fertilizers for farmers, power shortage was acute compared to the demand, there was a cry for developing roads and other infrastructure. Besides the challenge of developing Bangalore as a world class city was also there. Immediately after assuming office, I concentrated on administration and pro-people programmes. The main achievements of the BJP government in its first year can be seen in all the departments. However, the key areas are developing agriculture, infrastructure, human resources and providing social justice to the weak and the needy. A number of programmes are being catered to the people belonging to different walks of life. Since one year, nearly 1.20 crore families have got direct benefit under various pro-people programmes like Sandhya Suraksha, Arogya Kavacha, Bhagyalakshmi etc. Within two months, we have distributed BPL cards to around 28 lakh families in the state, while 13 lakh farmers have received loan to the tune of Rs 3,576 crore at the rate of 3% interest. All arrangements have been made for proper supply of fertilizers and seeds to farmers. Under dry land development schemes, six districts have got benefit. For this Rs 11.50 crore was allocated.

How has the sensitization of the administrative machinery helped the people in their problems especially the Janaspandana programme?

The programme of hobli level Janaspandan meeting started from September 20, 2008. This programme is in operation in all districts and has been quite successful. Of the 7,10,244 applications received in these meetings held till July 4, 2009, 6,47,111applications accounting for 91 per cent have been disposed of.

What has been the progress in implementation of Nanjundappa committee report to rectify regional imbalance?

Under the Special Development Plan (SDP) during 2007-08, an amount of Rs 1,571.50 crore was earmarked, of which Rs 951.44 crore was released. During 2008-09, a sum of Rs 2547.34 crore was earmarked and Rs 1710.42 crore has been released so far. The high power committee for redressal of regional imbalances (HPCRRI) under the chairmanship of Shashil G Namoshi, was constituted. The HPCRRI suggested a comprehensive eight year Special Development Plan (SDP) with outlays for various sectors to redress the problem of regional imbalances.

With Karnataka being one of the state’s to pioneer concessional agricultural loan through cooperative institutions at low interest, how many farmers have availed it and what has been the loan recovery rate?

The scheme to provide loan to farmers through co-operative banks and societies at the rate of 4% interest was in force from January 1, 2006. The scheme was continued with 3% rate of interest from January 1, 2008. This is the first of its kind and a model scheme in the country.

Karnataka has always been in the forefront in attracting investors, which are the major projects that have come to Karnataka after you took charge?

The State High Level Clearance Committee under my chairmanship has cleared 68 large and mega projects each with an investment of above Rs 50 crore. These projects would bring an investment of Rs 116224.03 crore and likely to create employment to 4.7 lakh people. The major sectors in which Karnataka has been able to attract investment includes iron and steel, cement, thermal power, aerospace, integrated township and IT/ITES. The State Level Single Window Clearance Committee has cleared 373 projects each with an investment between Rs three crore to Rs 50 crore. These projects would bring an investment of Rs 6687.44 crores and likely to create employment to 1.5 lakh people.

What is the fate of the SEZs in Karnataka. How many proposals had come and which are the once that have taken off?

The government has formulated a policy for SEZs as per the Central SEZ Act 2005 to support and encourage development of SEZs in Karnataka. The government has extended the package of incentives and supportive measures like exemption from state taxes, stamp duty and electricity duty and delegated the powers of labour commissioner to development commissioner of SEZs.
The Centre has granted formal approval to 52 SEZ projects in the state. The proposed investment from these SEZs is Rs 29700.00 crore envisaging employment opportunity to 11 lakh peole. Of 52 formal approvals, 28 SEZs have been notified in the Gazette of India. As on March 31, 2009, investment made in 28 notified SEZs is Rs 8560.00 crore and employment created is 48,129. FDI invested in these SEZs is Rs 2600.00 crores. 15 SEZs have started their first phase operation and in these SEZs 37 SEZ units are functional. Ours is an investment friendly government and we are planning to conduct a global meet involving overseas investors to project Karnataka and its resources.

Which state do you consider as a model one in the country for Karnataka to emulate?

Each state is unique in its nature and achievement. I would like to emulate the outstanding performance of different sectors from those states. For instance, Gujarat has done well in infrastructure, power, FDI, industrial development and ground water management. I had sent a team of officials led by industry minister to Gujarat to study the schemes and programmes. A team of officials will also visit Andhra Pradesh to study the housing scheme there. I have advised my colleagues to select the best practices in any state and try to adopt in Karnataka.

What is the unique imprint, the BJP government would like to people at the end of five years term?

Our government prime objective is to create an infrastructure for generating more than 13,000 to 15,000 MW of power. It means we have to add 5,000 MW to 8,000 MW power generating capacity in another four years. The present installed capacity is around 9,000 MW. This includes both private and public sectors. Currently we are short of 2,250 MW and this shortage will increase by 10% every year. Therefore my government attaches utmost important to increase the installed capacity to equate demand with supply.Another area of focus is to complete the ongoing irrigation projects and create infrastructure to utilize the states share of water for Krishna River B scheme. Infrastructure development both in rural and urban areas is one of our priority areas. We have plans to improve 22,000 km of roads which include 12,000 km of rural roads and 10,000 km of district and state highways. Karnataka ranks seventh in economic development of the country. At the end of five years of my tenure I want to see overall development of Karnataka and its ranking at all India level should improve further.
BRAND BANGALORE – BANGALORE-THE WORLD CLASS CITY
I have a dream to transform Bangalore into a city of global standards with world class infrastructure. I am serious to build ‘Brand Bangalore’. Many initiatives are taken for beautification and upgradation of Bangalore as a world-class city. This was the reason for my party to release a separate “vision document,” for Bangalore’s development. We have a blueprint to ease vehicular traffic, improve road infrastructure, and ensure continuous water supply and a better drainage system. Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) is reconstituted to agument the process. Under the Namma Metro Metro project accelerated, Rs 800 crore was spent in 2008.
BANGALORE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The BDA was asked to take up infrastructure development by spending Rs 700 crore in the areas newly added to BBMP during 2008-09. It has also taken up 1,544 works at an estimated cost of Rs 623 crore. Construction of flyovers at 14 junctions on the outer ring road at a cost of Rs 750 crore will be completed by December 2010.
BBMP: The widening and development of various roads in Bangalore is under progress. Of the 13 slums in the city, providing basic infrastructure to the inhabitants has started in five slums.