Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah proposed a public Wi-Fi service, setting up incubation centers and several e-governance initiatives in his maiden state budget under the new Congress government. Note that BJP government had previously announced a state budget in February 2013, however it was scrapped due to a change in the government two months ago.
Here are some major announcements from the Karnataka Budget 2013-14, related to Internet and digital sectors:
– Public Wi-Fi: A pilot scheme will be launched to offer public Wi-Fi services on MG Road and Brigade Road. Similar pilot schemes are proposed to be launched in Hubli-Dharwad, Mangalore and Mysore. The government hasn’t disclosed any specific information on whom they have partnered to offer this service or when they plan to launch this service.
– UNICODE Software: Plans to complete the development of Kannada software UNICODE based on the report of the former Kannada Software Development Committee (KSDC) chairman Dr. Chidananda Gowda. This software development has been in the works for few years now.
The government had setup KSDC in 2008 and the committee had apparently made around 14 recommendations and 13 suggestions, according to a The Hindu report. These include converting ASCII scheme to Unicode, developing 15 open type Kannada fonts, creating Kannada Braille software, optical character recognition software and Kannada speech recognition software among others. However, Gowda had told the publication that the government had ignored these suggestions.
– PoS Machines At PDS Outlets: Biometric enabled PoS (Point of Sale) machines will be installed at public distribution systems and the food department will be computerized. Rs 20 crore will be provided for this initiative.
– A dedicated website will be launched for farmers to provide databases of the existing and comparative prices of agriculture produce in different markets and commodity exchange centres.
– Mobile IT Labs & Innovation Clubs: Proposal to create Mobile IT Labs in a bid to enhance knowledge of school children and create interest in Information Technology. A grant of Rs 2 crore will be provided for this purpose. Innovation clubs would be started in all universities, colleges and polytechnics and a web portal would be developed for this purpose.
– e-District Project: e-District Project will be launched to enable nine government departments to automate and electronically deliver 132 citizen services. State Portal and State Service Delivery Gateway (SSDG) Project will also be launched to provide a single window for citizen services.
– A tele-education pilot program is in the works and the government is collaborating with Indian Institute of Management Bangalore for this initiative. It also plans to restructure SSLC and PUC exams by providing entire exam information online for students. Its not clear what type of information the government aims to provide through this initiative.
– The government plans to setup digital knowledge centers at public libraries in a phased manner.
– Proposal to provide Karnataka State Wide Area Network (KSWAN) connectivity to all government colleges and polytechnics along with LAN and accessories for broadband Internet connectivity.
– e-Governance software along with Letter Monitoring System and File Monitoring System will be installed in the Directorate of Health & Family Welfare Services and e-Hospitals software will be installed at hospitals like K.C.General Hospital, Jayanagar General Hospital & Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma & Orthopaedics.
– Plans to computerize and compile various labour laws. The government has allotted Rs 5 Crore for this initiative.
– Video conferencing facilities will be provided in all talukas under KSWAN project. 46 Citizen Service Centres will be opened in 10 cities of Karnataka and Common Service Centres will be launched in all grama panchayats to provide citizen services.
– Karnataka Geographical Information System will be developed at a cost of Rs 160 crore with 50% assistance from the Indian government.
– Department of Information’s administration and information dissemination network will be computerized to improve the distribution speed of information and match the speed of modern media.
– The transport department will be computerized to allow them to offer online services to citizens.
– Siddaramaiah noted that the government has rolled out several e-governance initiatives in the past few years to make tax compliance easier and it has also rolled out several electronic services for trade and industry segment. Going forward, the government plans to strengthen these services.
– Government also proposes to provide facilities for dealers to upload details of their purchases and sales along with the tax returns, to enable faster processing of refund claims and to prevent disputes related to the correctness of the input tax rebate claims later.
– Proposal to continue the VAT increase beyond August 2013. Last year, the government had increased VAT rates by 0.5% to 14.5% (for consumer products) and 5.5% (for industrial inputs) for one year from August 2012.
– Proposal to provide Electronic payment (e-payment) facility for payment of excise duty and other amounts payable by them.
Download – Karnataka Budget Speech For 2013-14