Siddu budget : Rs 100 crore for Christian development
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore (VM)
Mangalore, Jul 13: There were several requests from Christian community organisations and leaders to CM Siddaramaiah to increase the funds for the State Christian Development Board, and to make use of the funds for the development of Christian community across the state.
It may be recalled that former CM B S Yeddyurappa during his regime for the first time in the state instituted the CDB by granting Rs 50 crore on the request of IFKCA (International Federation for Karnataka Christian Association) which is led by NRE entrepenuer Ronald Colaco.
Later, a request had been made with CMs Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar to increase the grant and make effective use of the full amount every year.
Current CM Siddaramaiah, who presented his budget on Friday July 12 announced that the grant for CDB has been increased to Rs 100 crore.
Abhayachandra Jain, minister for fisheries and youth affairs, told daijiworld it is a welcome move by the CM. "I met the CM last week along with Ronald Colaco, who is the chairman of IFKCA. Colaco was able to convince the CM about increasing the grant. Though he made specific request of increasing the current grant to Rs 250 crore, the CM informed me that due to recent 'Anna Bhagya' programme, he could not grant Rs 250 crore. But in future such allocation can be made," he said
"I think Karnataka government has maintained a balance among major religions by giving importance to each one. Hindu temples, priests and community are protected by boards and programmes likes Aradhana and muzrai. Muslims are given priority in WAKF board and now Christian Development programmes through CDB."
When asked if there was any plan to appoint chairman for the CDB, he said that once the budget session is over, such a plan may be put into action.
Jain also said that the chairman for Konkani Sahitya Akademy will also be apppointed after the budget session. "There is request and demand from the Konkani writers that only a Konkani literary person should be appointed as president. The selection of president will done after careful discussion with all people concerned."
Jain informed Daijiworld that that state government has granted Rs 3.5 crore for World Konkani Centre.
Health minister U T Khadar said that the Christian community deserves an active Christian Development Board considering their invaluable contribution to the state. "Our government is committed to protect each and every community and religion," he said.
Mangalore South MLA J R Lobo welcomed the state budget presented by chief minister Siddaramaiah and said that the move to allocate Rs 100 crore for the development of the Christian community was a good gesture.
Speaking to daijiworld, Lobo said that he had raised the issue of budget allocation to the Christian community in the last Assembly session. "During the Assembly session, I had requested the government to increase the allocation for the Christian community, and I am thankful to the chief minister for doing so," he said.
"During the previous government's regime, Yeddyurappa had announced a sum of Rs 50 crore for the Christian community, but the entire amount has not reached the community so far," he added.
"The Federation of Konkani Catholic Associations (FKCA) led by entrepreneur Ronald Colaco had urged the chief minister to increase the amount. Keeping their requests in mind, the CM has alloted Rs 100 crore to the community," he said.
Asked how the amount is to be used, Lobo said, "As a first step, one more representative should meet the CM and have a board established, so that the funds are utilized in the right way and to ensure that there is no misuse. We can then follow up, discuss and decide on which aspects the money should be spent."
Commenting on the budget overall he said, "On the whole, the budget is good. It is balanced. There is focus on increasing revenue as well as on clearing old debts. The budget also ensures that development works progress well. The important thing is to follow up and see that everything is implemented properly."