The Karnataka state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders - Bengaluru South MP Tejasvi Surya, Mysuru Pratap MP Simha and MLA BY Vijayendra retaliated to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led protest in New Delhi. The party counter claimed that the State indeed has received benefits from the Centre, and criticised that the protest move is to draw attention away from poor governance

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and other Congress leaders led the “Delhi Chalo” protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday. This was a move to voice its concerns about “injustice” done to the State by the Centre in the devolution of taxes and grants-in-aid over the past few years.

The Chief Minister said that over the past five to six years, a grant of ₹1,87,000 crore to the State has been pending. In the 15th Finance Commission, the state’s tax share decreased from 4.71 per cent (14th Finance Commission) to 3.64 per cent, resulting in a loss of ₹62,098 crore. The State contributes ₹4,30,000 crore in taxes to the Centre, but only receives about 12 to 13 rupees out of every 100 rupees contribution in return.

BJP’s rebuttal

In a rebuttal to Congress’ “claims”, Surya said that the tax devolution to Karnataka has increased to ₹2.82 lakh crore in 2014-24 vs ₹81,795 crore from 2004-14 - a 250 per cent rise under Modi government. Grants-in-Aid increased to ₹2.08 lakh crore in 2014-24 from ₹60,779 crore in 2004-14 - a 240 per cent rise.

Addressing withholding of grants, he said, “There’s no mention of a grant for Karnataka in the Final FC report. Not just Karnataka, no special grant has been recommended for any state. Karnataka has witnessed a massive 240 per cent raise in both tax devolution and Grants from center.”

While Congress claims Karnataka has got nothing from Centre, the average railway Budget for Karnataka under Modi government is at ₹3,838 crore is 4.5 times the average annual Budget outlay during UPA-2 (₹835 crore). He was addressing a press conference with Pratap Simha on Wednesday, Surya further added.

Even as PM Modi gave his rebuttal, Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh too noted that Karnataka has been allocated more money under the Modi govt than under the previous UPA administration. He said that ₹8,700 crore was given to the state under MGNREGA during the UPA government, while under the NDA government, ₹39,000 crore has been released so far.

Counting the stats, he noted that under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the UPA spent ₹3,600 crore, while the NDA spent ₹4,500 crore. For the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, UPA allocated ₹2,300 crore, and NDA allocated ₹2,500 crore. Finance Commission funds to Karnataka increased from ₹4,400 crore under UPA to ₹18,000 crore under NDA.

In 2023-24, Karnataka received ₹2,490 crore; however, ₹42,3.30 crore was released, with funds on hold for unelected Panchayati Raj bodies. Various grants and releases for different fiscal years were detailed, with Covid-19 impacting fund disbursement in 2020-21 and 2021-22, he explained.

Further, In 2022-23, ₹2,463 crore was allocated while ₹2,093.55 crore was released. In 2021-22, ₹2,377 crore was allocated while ₹2,375.50 crore was released. In 2020-21, ₹3,217 crore was allocated, which was fully released, he said.

With inputs from agencies