Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah slams Central Govt; alleges state exploitation over delayed drought relief funds
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in collaboration with Deputy CM DK Shivakumar, announced a non-political protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar on February 7 against the central government's alleged economic exploitation of the state. He emphasized the unfair distribution of funds, citing Karnataka's minimal returns despite being a major tax contributor.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused the central government of subjecting the state to economic exploitation. Addressing a joint press conference with Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, the CM announced a massive protest scheduled for February 7 at Delhi's Jantar Mantar against what he called the "stepmotherly" treatment meted out to Karnataka.
The Chief Minister emphasized that the protest was not politically motivated, urging all MPs, MLAs, and leaders, irrespective of party affiliations, to unite against the economic injustices faced by the state. He called for a collective voice to be raised against the unfair distribution of drought relief, finance commission grants, tax shares, and central grant allocations.
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Highlighting the economic disparities faced by Karnataka, Siddaramaiah presented records and statistics illustrating the state's diminishing share of funds from the central government. Despite Karnataka being the second-highest contributor to the country's tax revenue, the Chief Minister lamented that the state is only receiving a meagre return of Rs 12 for every Rs 100 contributed.
In the financial year 2023-24, the Chief Minister revealed that the central government collected a staggering Rs 4.53 lakh crores from various sources, including income tax, GST, cess and surcharge on fuels, and customs tax. However, the state is only slated to receive Rs 50,257 crores in return, reflecting a significant decline in the proportionate share over the years.
Siddaramaiah also criticized the budget allocations, pointing out that despite the centre's budget size increasing from Rs 21.46 lakh crores in 2017-18 to Rs 45.03 lakh crores in 2023-24, the state's share has declined. He highlighted that the allocation of grants has decreased from 2.6% to 1.23%, and the share of state tax has dropped from 4.71% to 3.64% between the 14th and 15th Finance Commissions.
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Responding to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's statements, Siddaramaiah accused the central government of rejecting demands for compensation and project allocations, including the Bhadra Upper Bank Project and the peripheral ring road. He asserted that the central government's reluctance to address these issues amounted to severe injustice, particularly in critical sectors such as irrigation projects like Mahadai Yojana and Mekedatu Yojana.
The Chief Minister concluded by highlighting the urgent need for relief funds, citing the loss of crops worth 35 thousand crores due to drought.