'Karnataka declared drought early, but no relief till now,' says Minister Krishna Byre Gowda

Though the Centre announced Rs 5,300 crore for the Upper Bhadra Project, it was not mentioned in the Union Budget, he said.
Karnataka Minister Krishna Byre Gowda hits out at Centre over water crisis, says "GoI continues to ignore, neglect"
Karnataka Minister Krishna Byre Gowda hits out at Centre over water crisis, says "GoI continues to ignore, neglect"File photo

BENGALURU: Karnataka’s Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda on Saturday attacked BJP central leaders and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the step motherly treatment meted out to the state and for not giving its share of GST collections and taxes.

Sitharaman did not attend the open discussion organised by Jagruta Karnataka at Gandhi Bhavan. Krishna Byre Gowda flashed documents, detailing the efforts of the state government seeking grants withheld by the Centre.

Speaking to the empty chair reserved for Sitharaman, Byre Gowda asked, “Did Karnataka get its fair share from taxes and GST it paid to the central government?” He said drought should be declared on October 31 and if the situation is severe, it can be done earlier. The state declared it on September 13, a full one-and-a-half months earlier. On September 22, it submitted a request to the Centre for compensation. Between October 4 and 9, a central team conducted a drought study in the state. It submitted the report on October 20, he added.

“This report should have been reviewed and recommended by the secretary to the agriculture department of the central government. A decision should have been taken within a month and a meeting held by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. But it has not been done so far,” he stressed.

Though the Centre announced Rs 5,300 crore for the Upper Bhadra Project, it was not mentioned in the Union Budget, he said. He said Karnataka has the capacity to increase tax collection by 15% every year. “But after GST implementation, taxes for states like ours are decreasing. Rs 18,897 crore was allocated to the state in 2019-20 after the implementation of GST. We lost Rs 34,570 crore in 2023-24 and we are losing Rs 30,000-32,000 crore every year. That was why the Finance Commission had directed the Centre to fully transfer the GST compensation to the states,” he added.

The state should also get a share in the cess collected by the Centre. Rs 2,18,553 crore was collected from petroleum products in 2017-18, while it was Rs 5,52,789 crore in 2022-23. But the states did not get any share of this, he added.

Karnataka Minister Krishna Byre Gowda hits out at Centre over water crisis, says "GoI continues to ignore, neglect"
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