Nirmala Sitharaman’s “Who Denied Money” Retort To Karnataka’s Funds Gripe

Nirmala Sitharaman's 'Who Denied Money' Retort To Karnataka's Funds Gripe

Ms Sitharaman’s comments came amid a protest led by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in New Delhi.

New Delhi:

On a day when Congress leaders from Karnataka, led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, alleging “injustice” in tax devolution and grants-in-aid from the Centre, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has hit out and said that she has followed the recommendations of the Finance Commission “to the last word”.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, the finance minister gave out figures and compared the share of central taxes and grants-in-aid given to the state under the UPA government and the BJP-led government and asserted that Karnataka is not being denied any money. To buttress her argument, she also pointed out that the state has received Rs 6,280 crore as an interest-free loan for 50 years.

In her speech, an excerpt of which she also posted on X, Ms Sitharaman said that from 2010-11 to 2014-15, under the 13th Finance Commission, Karnataka received Rs 61,191 crore as its share of taxes and the figure has already touched Rs 1,29,854 crore for four years from 2020-21 for the current 15th Finance Commission. She pointed out it is estimated that the state would have received Rs 1,74,339 crore by the time the fifth year ends, on March 31, 2026.

“If you look at grants-in-aid, in 10 years of UPA, Karnataka received Rs 60,779.84 crore. In 9 years of the Modi government, Karnataka received Rs 2,08,832.02 crore. Over and above that, additional grants-in-aid of Rs 18,005 crore have been budgeted this year for release for Karnataka. In our 10 years, Karnataka is getting Rs 2,26,837 crore,” she said. 

“Where is Karnataka being denied money? Where is Karnataka receiving less money,” she asked. 

At Jantar Mantar, Congress leaders demanded that the Centre set right losses of Rs 1.87 lakh crore allegedly incurred by Karnataka under the 15th Finance Commission. “We are raising the issue of discrimination meted out by the government of India to the state of Karnataka and other southern states,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, according to news agency PTI. 

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said Karnataka ranks second in GST collection and is the biggest contributor to the country’s revenue. “We are asking for our rights, we are asking for our share. The Karnataka government had sought drought relief funds from the Centre but not even a single rupee was given,” he said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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