Ready to raise loans for development works: CM BSY

Ready to raise loans for development works: Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa

CM Yediyurappa uses a hand sanitizer before entering Vidhana Soudha on Thursday. DH Photo.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Thursday vowed to raise more loan if needed to fund development works, after Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah cautioned that Karnataka’s future was “dark” given the government’s precarious
finances. 

Armed with facts and figures, Siddaramaiah sought to corner the ruling BJP over the government’s revenue position. “By 2022-23, a revenue deficit of Rs 30,743 has been projected. This will go up to Rs 46,831 crore. If there’s a revenue deficit, will there be money for development?” he asked. “You’ll have to just pay salaries and keep quiet. But then, is that why you struggled so much to come to power?” 

In the 2019-20 fiscal, Karnataka’s committed expenditure would be Rs 1,55,191 crore against revenue receipts of Rs 1,77,255 crore. “Committed expenditure is 90% of revenue receipts. We will be left with some Rs 22,000 crore for development works. With this being the situation, the chief minister has promised Rs 25,000 crore for the Upper Krishna Project,” Siddaramaiah said. 

This angered Yediyurappa and he rose to interrupt Siddaramaiah. “We will get (loan) from the World Bank and NABARD. What stops us from doing that? And we know how to repay the loans. It’s my responsibility to ensure development in areas such as irrigation and others for the next three years,” the chief minister said. 

Siddaramaiah, who has presented a record 13 budgets, came down heavily on the Centre for Karnataka’s shrinking share in taxes. “The 15th Finance Commission recommended a special grant of Rs 5,495 crore to the state, which Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka, has rejected. Isn’t this injustice? Should we tolerate this?” he asked and pointed out that the state’s share in the Central taxes had been reduced from 4.71% to 3.64% and GST compensation will stop from 2022-23.  

“There’s time till November before the 15th Finance Commission submits its final report. Go to the finance minister and the prime minister. Get this sorted out or else we’re in for a huge injustice. Don’t become complacent,” he told the
CM. 

Siddaramaiah said the budget itself was “disappointing” and it lacked transparency as allocation was shown sectorally instead of department-wise. “I see a dark future for Karnataka. We need to collectively look at a revival - how can we reduce committed expenditure, revenue expenditure and ensure there’s no revenue deficit,” he said. 

Blaming demonetisation and the Centre’s inability to collect enough taxes, Siddaramaiah said the state’s poor had to face the brunt.

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