Bangalore Political Action Committeee (BPAC) conducted a Google Hangout panel discussion on the budget, on February 14th, 2013. The panelists included BPAC President Kiran M Shaw, Vice-president TV Mohandas Pai, social entrepreneur Ashwin Mahesh and urbanist V Ravichandar. The debate was moderated by Revathy Ashok of BPAC.
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Mohandas Pai said though in terms of growth the average of the state is better than the national average, he wants to see a large vision in the budget to develop the entire region and industries in terms of infrastructure. He said he wasn’t happy with the 7.2 % growth in service economy, as the field consists only of Bangalore, in which IT and BT haven’t seen much growth because of lack of adequate infrastructure. He said he was happy with the allotted plan expenditure.
Budget allocated to tourism was satisfactory, said V Ravichandar, adding that notification of Kaveri Tourism Authority and other initiatives were good for tourism. Cubbon Park Management Authority with Private-Public Participation, convention centre at 435 acres to be formed at Devanahalli airport and proposal to open part of Turahalli forest near BSK 6th stage to the public were very encouraging, he added.
Kiran Shaw said she wants to see proper planning in whatever the government is doing, before implementation. She welcomed the tourism budget, and lauded the tourism vision group for its initiatives which the government accepted. She said some money could be spent on experts, and the model of implementation needs to be robust. She said she was disappointed that only Rs 10,000 crore was allocated to urban development out of total Rs 1,40,000 crore budget.
Ashwin Mahesh agreed with the point that the budget lacked vision. He said the traditional departmental allocation doesn’t deliver the outcome. Instead the government should work on the physical, social and financial infrastructure needed in each part of the state and then devolve the expenditure to each area. Also there is lack of vision on how much government can do and what needs to be done by others – education institutions, corporates, development institutions. He added that the money allocated to certain projects like rejuvenating lakes, do not actually take place and get pushed to the next year, which continues year atfter year.