BANGALORE: The Opposition may cry hoarse over the fiscal condition of the state heading south, but Governor H R Bhardwaj thinks otherwise.
“Despite the downturn of the global economy and a moderate national growth, Karnataka has managed to maintain a healthy growth rate, both in terms of tax collection and plan expenditure,” the Governor said in his address during the joint Legislature session here on Monday.
“The state government is confident of achieving the approved plan size for the current fiscal. While revenue growth stood at over 20 per cent, growth in plan expenditure is around 15 per cent,” he said. He also added that borrowing is within the permissible fiscal prudence norms.
“A revenue surplus has been maintained continuously in the last four years.”
The Governor blamed the regulatory agencies for delays in getting clearances for new power projects. He added that this has forced the government to purchase power from the open market to tide over the crisis.
He lauded the government on the law and order front too, with no incidents of communal occurring in the state. “The police force has done an excellent job in maintaining peace and controlling the naxal menace.”
Expressing concern at the looming severe drought in over 99 taluks, Bhardwaj informed that the deficiency of rainfall has been the worst ever in the last four decades. In this regard, he said that the state has submitted a memorandum to the Union government seeking an assistance of `723 crore.
“The Global Agri-Business Investment Meet, which resulted in the sigining of MoUs worth over `60,000 crore with various investors, has been a success,” he averred.
The Governor also dwelt at length on the government enacting the Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act, the setting up of the Karnataka Evaluation Authority and introduction of e-procurement system, which has been extended to 104 departments and organisations. “Under the MGNREGA, more than 54 lakh households have been issued job cards and 200 lakh person days of employment has been generated,” he said.
He also said that over 1.12 lakh hectares of water logged, saline and alkaline affected areas have been reclaimed for cultivation.
Earlier, the Governor was accorded a warm welcome with both the presiding officers of the Legislature — Council Chairman D H Shankaramurthy and Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah — leading him to podium.
Bhardwaj’s faux pas under opposition fire
The Governor’s faux pas during his address to the joint Legislature session — over the dates of the conduction of the National Youth Festival in Mangalore — has not gone down well with members of the Opposition. Governor H R Bhardwaj mentioned that the festival was conducted for four days, from January 12 to 15, when in fact, it was a five-day event, held between January 12 and 16. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah termed the speech a “sheet of false facts presented to the house”. Congress member Allam Prabhu Patil, while speaking to Express, criticised the state government for the omission while preparing the speech. “How can the government expect us to give a vote of thanks to a speech with false information?” he questioned. The address is vetted by the state Cabinet.