‘Modi is not ready to give Karnataka’s share in GST’

Siddaramaiah questions CM’s rationale of opting for a loan to balance finances of State

Holding Prime Minister Narendra Modi responsible for non-payment of Karnataka’s share in Goods and Services Tax (GST), Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah demanded that Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai put pressure on the Union Government to get the dues instead of resorting to loans.

“As per the arrangement, it is the duty of the Union Government to pay States’ share of GST. We [Karnataka] did not get our share in 2020, and even this year. States’ share in devolution of funds has been reduced from 4.72% in 14th Finance Commission to 3.64% in the 15th Finance Commission. The reduction will result in loss of ₹20,000 crore to Karnataka. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has rejected the special grant of ₹5,495 crore as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said criticising the BJP parliamentarians from the State for not raising their voice against the injustice that the Union Government is meting out to Karnataka.

He was addressing a media conference at Aiwan-e-Shahi Guest House in Kalaburagi on October 13.

“None of the 25 Lok Sabha members elected from the State have raised their voice against the injustice to Karnataka. What is then the use of electing them? On the other hand, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is going to take loans to maintain the State’s finances instead of collecting the State’s share in GST. This is not good. Mr. Bommai should mount pressure on the Union government and collect our share of GST instead of resorting to loans,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Criticising the government for non-payment of compensation to flood-hit farmers, the former Chief Minister disagreed with the government’s reason for the non-payment.

“The government is yet to give any compensation to those who had lost houses and crops in the 2019 floods. It is citing COVID-19 as a reason for lack of funds to initiate a compensation program. It might have spent about ₹6,000 crores for handling the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the State budget size is ₹2.5 lakh crore, and the Union Government may have contributed some amount. How long can the government continue to cite shortage of funds? Instead of working for the people, this government is busy in looting them,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah, who had visited tremor-hit Gadikeshwar village on October 12, condemned the Kalaburagi district administration for not making arrangements for rehabilitation of villages affected by frequent earthquakes.

“I visited Gadikeshwar. More than 75% of the residents have migrated out of fear. They have no place to live now. I had called Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Revenue Minister R. Ashok, and urged them to start a rehabilitation programme at the earliest. They had responded positively. But, Kalaburagi Deputy Commissioner has hardly done anything to protect people from earthquakes,” he said.

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