Karnataka CM vehemently defends guarantee schemes, accuses Centre of "anti-people" policies

12:42 PM Feb 16, 2024 | PTI |

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday strongly defended his government’s guarantee schemes, asserting that they are not ”election gimmicks”, while strongly criticising the Centre for its ”anti-people” decisions. Presenting the state budget for 2024-25 in the Legislative Assembly, he said the tax slabs for Indian Made Liquor (IML) and beer are proposed to be revised, in order to rationalise them and make them competitive with neighbouring states.


This was Siddaramaiah’s record 15th budget as Finance Minister of Karnataka, and the second under the present Congress regime.

He said his government is marching ahead towards setting a new example of Karnataka Model of Development founded on the principles of justice, equality and fraternity enshrined in our Constitution.

Claiming that the UPA Government during its tenure at the Centre, had taken up people-centric schemes and legislations to provide food security, healthcare, education, employment, Siddaramaiah said, ”however, the anti-people decisions of the Central Government for the last 10 years have led to alarming developments such as widening inequality, concentration of wealth in (a) few hands and crony capitalism.” ”Therefore our State Government has undertaken the work left undone by the Central Government which has abdicated its responsibility. Our guarantee schemes are not just election gimmicks. They are the result of the feedback obtained during ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’,” he said.

These schemes are earnest efforts to create jobs and enhance purchasing power of the people, he further said, adding that these programmes are aimed at creating a just and fair society by redistribution of wealth.


Siddarmaiah said through the five guarantee schemes, the government is putting Rs 52,000 crore in the hands of crores of people during 2024-25.

An average of Rs 50,000 to Rs.55,000 is transferred to each family every year through guarantee schemes, he said, ”The implementation of guarantee schemes has brought us admiration from the entire world. The positive economic and social impact of the guarantee schemes will become more clear with time. Many countries and international agencies are studying and appreciating our work.” The Chief Minister also hit out at opponents accusing them of making all efforts to lower the morale of his administration by negative propaganda that the government has gone bankrupt and economy has collapsed in the State due to guarantees, which they describe as freebies or ”Bitti Bhagyas.” ”Those who failed to respond to the distress call of the people are now criticising us to cover their faults. It is such an irony that the same people who criticised our Guarantee schemes have now stolen them and are trying to pass them off as their own. I need not argue with these critics,” he said.

The government has given impetus to creating an ecosystem that promotes inclusive development and accelerated economic development in the coming future, Siddaramaiah said. ”We will mobilise adequate resources for economic infrastructure such as expressways, excellent rural roads, world class airports and Urban Public Transport facilities.” ”We will make even greater investment in the energy sector to take Karnataka numero uno in the country once again in energy production. Bengaluru will be transformed into a truly global city with world-class infrastructure,” he said.

Noting that Karnataka is the second-highest source of GST collections in the country with 18 per cent increase in current financial year compared to the corresponding period in 2022-23, the CM also said a loss of Rs 59,274 crore was incurred by the state due to unscientific implementation of GST in last seven years, by the Centre.

Alleging that the previous BJP government in the state failed to rectify the injustice meted out to the State due to the interim report of 15th Finance Commission, he said due to the lackadaisical attitude of the previous government, the state had to suffer severe losses in the final report of the 15th Finance Commission.

”It is estimated that during the six-year period of the 15th Finance Commission, the loss to the State under devolution of Central Taxes is estimated to be Rs 62,098 crore,” he said.

Unscientific implementation of GST, increase in cesses and surcharges and change in allocation formula — these three injustices meted out by the Central Government coupled with short release of funds to the states have adversely affected the financial strength of all the states of the country, the CM said.

As the ruling party in several states are same as that in the Centre, these states are unable to raise voice against the injustices meted out against them, he added.

Siddarmaiah said though he has presented a revenue deficit budget, he has increased the budgetary allocation for welfare programmes to Rs 1,20,373 crore. ”Further I have successfully ensured fiscal consolidation by keeping the fiscal deficit within 3 per cent of GSDP and total outstanding liabilities within 25 per cent of the GSDP,” he said, as he also expressed confidence of achieving revenue surplus after the next two years.


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