‘Every due penny given on time,’ says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on claims of fiscal bias towards Karnataka

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed concerns about alleged fiscal bias against Karnataka, dismissing claims of fund withholding, ANI reported.

Speaking at an informal interaction organised by the Thinkers Forum in Bengaluru on March 24, Sitharaman assured that all dues to the state were duly accounted for and disbursed on schedule.

Refuting allegations, Sitharaman clarified that the purported special grant of 5,495 crore for Karnataka was unfounded, as the Finance Commission’s final report did not recommend such grants.

She also highlighted the government’s efforts in implementing schemes such as the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, which provides free rations to 80 crore people nationwide and 30.5 lakh individuals in urban Bengaluru monthly.

“The claim that 5,495 crore as a special grant was not released for Karnataka is totally false. The Finance Commission, in its final report, did not recommend any such special grants. Under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, 80 crore people all across the country and 30.5 lakh from urban Bengaluru get free rations at home every month. I want to flag those guarantees that we fulfilled to help the common people, especially the poor. In urban Bengaluru, 14.68 lakh Jan-Dhan accounts were opened as against 52 crore across the country,” she said.

Support for Urban Bengaluru

The Finance Minister detailed allocations under flagship schemes such as Mudra and Stand-up India, stating that 30,490 crores were allocated solely for urban Bengaluru under Mudra. Furthermore, she mentioned the distribution of 467 crores under Stand-up India in Bengaluru Urban, benefitting 4,429 registered beneficiaries.

“As many as 38.25 lakh beneficiaries (of the Mudra scheme) are in urban Bengaluru alone. The state also received funds under ‘Stand-up India’, which facilitates loans of between 10 lakh and 1 crore for SCs, STs, and women. In Bengaluru Urban, 467 crores were distributed under this scheme. There are as many as 4,429 registered beneficiaries of this scheme in this area of the city alone. Also, 1.25 lakh street vendors in urban Bengaluru were enlisted as beneficiaries under the PM Swanidhi Yojana. Of these vendors, 62 per cent are women, 31 per cent are OBCs and 29 per cent are SCs and STs. Under PM Jeevan Jyoti Beema Yojana, more than 30 lakh beneficiaries were enrolled as beneficiaries in Urban Bengaluru,” Sitharaman said.

Karnataka’s GST Mop-Up

Further on claims made by the Congress state government, Sitharaman added that Karnataka received its full share of GST revenue, amounting to 1.06 crore for the period from 2017 to 2022. She also defended the growth projections, emphasising the positive impact of GST on state revenues.

Also taking a jibe at the state government, Sitharaman added, “The rate of growth pre-GST was only 11.68 percent. Today, as it is reaching 15 percent, they can’t accept it and say the numbers are exaggerated. I wish to tell the state government that GST is benefiting you. It is beginning to raise your revenues from taxes.”

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