Protest against financial atrocities by Central Government in New Delhi:Karnataka loses 1.88 lakh crores due to injustice by the central government: CM Siddaramaiah

Dr.Thomas (Special Correspondent)

Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah said that Karnataka has lost Rs.1,87,867 crore since 2017-18 due to the step-motherly treatment towards Karnataka and termed this as the missed opportunity for transformative development in the State .

He was addressing the protest rally held in Jantar Mantar here today against the Union Government opposing the financial atrocities committed by the Central Government on Kannadigas and Karnataka.

In his address he elaborated about the Shrinking Share of Devolution,Delay in Fulfilling Infrastructure Commitments and release of funds for disaster management by the Central Government and termed this as the deliberate and systematic attack on the identity of Kannadigas.

He said that,it is alarming how Kannadigas are troubled by the apathy and deliberate attempts of Union BJP leaders to undermine their interests.Their commitment to the Constitution and Cooperative Federalism appears to be absent.

*State’s share reduced from 4.71% to 3.64%:

He explained in detail about how injustice is meted out to Karnataka in State’s share in central taxes,he said that the reduction in our state’s share of central taxes from 4.71% in 14th Finance Commission to 3.64% in 15th Finance Commission has led to a staggering loss of approximately Rs.62,098 crore over five years.

The implementation of GST,which was promised to be a boon,has turned into a bane due to the discontinuation of compensation in June 2022.

This abrupt halt has severely crippled our fiscal health, making it a Herculean task to regain the tax collection growth rate of 15% that we once proudly maintained.

Karnataka has lost about Rs.59,274 crore due to unscientific implementation of GST.

The State Government has written 3 letters to the Finance Minister,Smt.Nirmala Sitharaman to seek an update on the GST compensation,but unfortunately,we have not received any response from her.

Despite Karnataka’s substantial contribution of Rs. 4,30,000 crore in tax revenue every year,we receive just about Rs.50,000 crore from the Union Government.

For every Rs.100 contributed,state gets just Rs.12-13.

Unfortunately,we receive just Rs 12-13 from the Centre for every Rs.100 contributed by Karnataka.This disproportionate return is a direct blow to our ability to self-finance our development and welfare initiatives,he said.

Chief Minister said that,though the Union Budget has almost doubled over last 5 years,allocation for Karnataka is halved. In 2018-19,when the Union government budget was Rs.24,42,213 crore,Karnataka got Rs.46,288 crore as total funds.

But,in 2023-24,even though the Union Budget has almost doubled to Rs.45,03,097 crore,Karnataka got just Rs.50,257 crore.

Where is the justice? Ideally we should have got more than Rs 1 lakh crore but we have just got half of it,he claimed.

Cess and Surcharge to deny funds for States:

The Union government has also found the cess and surcharge to deny funds for the states.Due to these additional cess and surcharges, Karnataka has lost more than Rs.55,000 crore since 2017-18.

CM questioned whether Finance Commission truly independent as claimed by Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman and asked if so why has the Union Government rejected Finance Commission’s special grants of Rs.5,495 crore to address shortfall, another Rs.3,000 crore grant for Bengaluru Peripheral Ring Road and another Rs.3,000 crore for the development of lakes in Bengaluru.

In total,the Union Government has rejected Rs.11,495 crore of funds even though it was recommended by the Finance Commission,he said.

Delay in Fulfilling Infrastructure Commitments:

Chief Minister heavily came down on the Union Government for delay in fulfilling infrastructure commitments and also for the apathy towards Karnataka, which is reeling under severe drought this year.

He said that promises made remain promises unkept, as crucial projects like the Upper Bhadra Project languish without the release of Rs.5,300 crore that were announced with much fanfare.

The Mahadayi Project,essential for our state’s water security, remains stalled,awaiting environmental clearances that never come.

Similarly,the Mekedatu scheme,which is pivotal for Bengaluru’s drinking water needs,is trapped in a limbo without the necessary permissions.

In these trying times, when our state grapples with severe drought,affecting 223u out of 236 taluks,the central government’s response to our plea for Rs.17,901 crore in compensation has been disheartening.

Our farmers suffer,our lands parch,yet the assistance we urgently seek remains a distant dream.

Despite writing 17 letters from our government to various stakeholders of the Union Government seeking early release of the compensation,we have not received any response from them, he alleged.

Our Tax,Our Right: BJP’s guarantee schemes narrative should not deny our right:

Denying the Recent narratives by BJP,he said that BJP leaders have unjustly framed our actions as a desperate measure to fund our guarantee schemes and he claimed that guarantee schemes have aided economic growth in our State and the GST collections have increased by about 18%.

He clarified that Karnataka’s financial health is robust, and our commitment to these schemes is unwavering, not out of necessity,but out of a deep-seated belief in social justice and equity.

Our budgeting is sound,our resources ample,and our administration capable of implementing these schemes without compromising our financial integrity or our obligations.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah described shortfall of Rs. 1,87,867 crore as the missed opportunity for transformative development in Karnataka.

With these funds,we could have built over 1,000 state-of-the-art schools,500 hospitals equipped with modern healthcare facilities,thousands of kilometers of roads to connect our remotest villages,and significantly enhanced our healthcare infrastructure,especially in these challenging times.

He claimed,each rupee denied to us is a dream deferred for our children’s education,our families’ health,and our communities’connectivity and prosperity.This is the real cost of the shortfall we face, he said.

He called upon the protestors not to be swayed by baseless allegations or political gamesmanship.Our fight is for fairness,for our rightful share,and for the respect and dignity of every Kannadiga.