Union Budget: HDK concerned over fuel hike, GST share

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy has flayed the Union Budget for hiking cess on fuel, which he said will reduce the scope for state governments to revise fuel prices at their discretion. 

Kumaraswamy also expressed concern over reduced sharings from the GST, which could deal a blow to the state’s economy. 

“This budget has given a big blow to the states’ economy by reducing GST state share. For Karnataka it will be cut down by around Rs 1,600 crore,” Kumaraswamy said in a statement.

“Cess hike on fuel will also reduce scope for states to levy cess. Moreover, fuel price hike will hit everyone directly and indirectly as well,” he said. 

It may be noted that Kumaraswamy had hiked petrol and diesel prices in 2018 to mobilise resources for his pet crop loan waiver scheme. In September the same year, he cut fuel taxes under pressure from his coalition partner Congress. But in January this year, the government hiked fuel tax again. 

Disappointed

Kumaraswamy said he had “great expectations” from Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden budget, and that he was “equally disappointed.”

Commenting on the agriculture sector, Kumaraswamy said: “Though creation of Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO), strengthening e-National Agriculture Market (NAM) and promoting traditional industries are welcome moves, more morale-boosting programmes were desirable for the farming sector.” 

Karnataka expected more on railways from Nirmala Sitharaman who represents the state in the Rajya Sabha, Kumaraswamy said. “Especially suburban railways, but very disappointed as no projects/aid were announced.”

Kumaraswamy felt the Budget was confined to “certain intents” and nothing more. “In the Indian context budget is not a mere statement of intent. Budget speech is the most important medium for communicating with the people. Certain intents have been said and nothing beyond it,” he said.

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