FM deliberately confusing SDRF & NDRF, says CM Siddaramaiah

He said such incidents cast doubt on the Finance Minister’s proficiency and understanding of fiscal policies.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah(File Photo)

BENGALURU: The war of words between the State and Centre over the devolution of funds and special grants continued on Saturday with CM Siddaramaiah saying that the people of Karnataka will teach the BJP leaders a lesson for their “lies and betrayal”.

Taking to ‘X’, the CM said, “The narrative of Smt@nsitharaman becomes more tangled with her statements on special grants. She implied that the Finance Commission recommended special grants of Rs 5,495 crore only in an initial report and not in the subsequent one, leading to the non-disbursement of these grants by the Centre. This portrayal is misleading. The 15th Finance Commission issued two comprehensive reports, one for 2020-21 and another for 2021-26, without making a distinction between ‘preliminary’ and ‘final’ recommendations. Her claims starkly misrepresent the Finance Commission’s stance.’’

The CM, who also holds the finance portfolio, said Sitharaman was perhaps deliberately confusing the two distinct funds of SDRF and NDRF. “Let me enlighten you (Nirmala) as to how disaster management is dealt with. There are 2 funds: SDRF & NDRF. Funds under SDRF are allocated every year and this is shared between centre & state in the ratio of 75:25. This fund is state’s right & its quantum is determined by the Finance Commission. SDRF is used for routine disaster relief. When the scale of the disaster is large, then a memorandum is submitted to the Centre for funds under NDRF. Drought in Karnataka is unprecedented… The money available under SDRF is not sufficient to provide for crop failure of over 48 lakh hectares belonging to 34 lakh farmers. For providing relief for crop loss as per the norms we need Rs 4,663 crore. This money is farmer’s right….’’

He said Sitharaman announced that the Centre allocated Rs 697 crore to Karnataka from SDRF. “…This fund is something states are entitled to based on the Finance Commission’s recommendation, it is not a favor…. with drought-induced damages escalating beyond Rs 37,000 crore, our plea for additional support of Rs 18,171 crore from NDRF seems to be falling on deaf ears.”

He further tweeted, “In response to queries regarding Rs 6,000 crore earmarked for significant infrastructure and environmental projects, as endorsed by the Finance Commission, the Finance Minister pointed to interest-free loans provided by the Centre. Why should Karnataka resort to loans when it is entitled to these funds as per the Commission’s recommendations?’’ He said such incidents cast doubt on the Finance Minister’s proficiency and understanding of fiscal policies.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah
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