Chief Minister Siddaramaiah may have backtracked on presenting a White Paper on the state’s finances. But he used his Budget speech to slam the previous BJP government on its mismanagement of taxes, agriculture and excessive borrowings.
Almost sounding like a stern headmaster, Siddaramaiah began by stating: “Our people are patient, tolerant, capable of correctly understanding the situation and are compassionate. With immense hope they waited for five years. When the government did not provide even their basic minimum, they lost trust and faith. By intelligently exercising their ballot during elections, they have clearly demonstrated their wisdom.”
Declaring that revenues were declining, borrowings were high and the state’s overall developmental outcomes were disappointed, the CM also targeted the BJP’s Bangalore votebase, by pointing out: “The pride of Bangalore as IT centre had faded. Along with that, the infrastructure of the city had crippled.”
Taking on former CM B S Yeddyurappa and his two successors without naming them, he said: “The agriculture budget was only a compilation of agriculture related subjects without any details. It did not achieve anything.”
On tax growth, he said the rate was 25.01 percent in 2006-07, when he was FM, but was 10.6 percent in 2009-10, when Yeddyurappa was the FM. “During the same period, borrowings shot up from a mere Rs 1,324 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 11,445 crore in 2009-10,” he added. Speaking about the 14th Finance Commission, he said: “The Commission also recommends grant-in-aid to the states and local bodies. Karnataka being a well-managed state expects fair justice.”