Karnataka Ministers, legislators to protest in Delhi for discrimination in funds, drought relief


Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, along with Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar, addressing mediapersons regarding ‘discrimination’ by the Centre in fund allocation, at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru on February 5, 2024. He shared details of a protest in this regard organised in Delhi on February 7.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, along with Deputy CM D.K. Shivakumar, addressing mediapersons regarding ‘discrimination’ by the Centre in fund allocation, at Vidhana Soudha, in Bengaluru on February 5, 2024. He shared details of a protest in this regard organised in Delhi on February 7.
| Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K

Ministers and legislators of the ruling Congress in Karnataka have decided to stage a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on February 7 against alleged step-motherly treatment by the BJP government at the Centre in devolution of taxes, non-release of drought relief, and denial of clearances for irrigation projects in the State.

On February 5, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Karnataka had incurred a loss of ₹1.87 lakh crore during the 15th Finance Commission period owing to reduction in devolution of taxes, special grants, and non-distribution of funds collected by the Centre under cess on petrol and diesel, and surcharge.

“A huge injustice was done to Karnataka in the 15th Finance Commission (2020-21 to 2025-26) compared to the 14th Commission (2014-15 to 2019-20). Our protest is not against the BJP, and it is not political. Our protest is to draw the attention of the Central Government and the country,” said the Chief Minister, who also holds the finance portfolio.

For the first time, the Congress government in Karnataka is staging a protest in Delhi against the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre.

The amount allotted to Karnataka from the total collection of taxes, including grants, reduced from 4.71% to 3.64% from the 14th Finance Commission to the 15th Finance Commission. As a result, the State had lost ₹73,593 crore during the 15th Finance Commission, the Chief Minister said.

After Maharashtra, Karnataka ranks second in collection of taxes. The State contributes ₹4.30 lakh crore per year from all types of taxes, but, in turn, the State has been receiving only 12-13% of its share from the Centre, the Chief Minister said.

In 2023-24, the State received ₹50,257 crore from the Centre, including ₹13,005 crore under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes, he said.

The Centre’s budget doubled from ₹24.42 lakh crore in 2018-19 to ₹45.46 lakh crore in 2023-24, but the State’s share declined from ₹51,157 crore to ₹50,257 crore during the same period.

The State’s share in the Centre’s devolution of taxes declined from 2.2% in 2017-18 to 1.23% in 2024-25, the Chief Minister said.

The State has been contributing ₹2.40 lakh crore through Income Tax and Corporate Tax, and ₹1.36 lakh crore in the form of GST to the Central pool. Despite assurance of paying compensation for the loss incurred due to implementation of GST, the Centre stopped providing compensation in June 2022, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Moreover, the Centre has been imposing cess on petrol and diesel, and collecting surcharge from Karnataka. But the Centre has not been sharing anything from the collection of cess and surcharge. “We have decided to place our demands before the 16th Finance Commission to share this amount with States,” the Chief Minister said.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who represents Karnataka in the Upper House of Parliament, had rejected the interim report of the 15th Finance Commission that recommended a special grant of ₹5,459 crore to Karnataka for the loss incurred in the share of devolution of taxes. She had also not released ₹6,000 crore promised for development of the peripheral ring road and development of lakes in Bengaluru. “In total, the State had not received ₹11,495 crore from the Centre,” the Chief Minister claimed.

The Centre envisaged ₹5,300 crore in the 2023 Union Budget for the Upper Bhadra Project. But not a single rupee has come to Karnataka, he said.

The Centre denied environment clearance for the Mahadayi drinking water project in north Karnataka, and did not grant permission to start work on the Mekedatu project, which was envisaged for catering to the drinking water needs of Bengaluru and surrounding villages in the Cauvery basin. The Centre has not issued a gazette notification on Upper Krishna Project for utilisation of 130 tmc of water awarded to Karnataka by the Krishna river Water Tribunal.

State suffering impact of drought, but Centre not releasing relief funds

Despite severe drought in 223 out of 236 taluks in Karnataka, the Centre has not released funds to the State. The State submitted a memorandum seeking ₹17,901 crore. The crop loss owing to drought has been estimated at ₹35,000 crore. The Centre had not released ₹929.61 crore, under the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), to the State.

Since the protest is apolitical, the KPCC president and Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar has appealed to the BJP legislators and MPs, and Union Ministers from the State to participate in the protest on February 7, Mr Siddaramaiah said.

Neither the Union Ministers nor MPs from Karnataka have been raising their voice in Parliament against the Central Government for the injustice meted out to the State in devolution of grants, non-release of compensation for handling drought, and not providing clearances for irrigation projects in the State, the Chief Minister said. 

All legislators and Ministers of the Congress will reach New Delhi on February 6 to participate in the protest on February 7 at 11 a.m. at Jantar Mantar, the Chief Minister said.

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