Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said Karnataka witnessed “financial anarchy” after B.S. Yeddyurappa became Finance Minister in the H.D. Kumaraswamy government, and the situation continues even today.
Participating in a meet-the-press programme organised by the Bangalore Reporters’ Guild and Press Club, Bangalore, he said the State was witness to increased debt, fiscal and revenue deficits, wasteful expenditure and unnecessary budgetary grants to religious institutions.
He said in 2006-07 (when Mr. Siddaramaiah’s tenure as Finance Minister ended), the State had a debt of Rs. 50,000 crore, which rose to a record level of Rs. 1.2 lakh crore during the BJP regime. He said the State, which had once recorded surplus revenue of Rs. 3,000 crore, now faces a revenue deficit of Rs. 4,500 crore.
Budget fundamentals were ignored and the State is now lagging behind in development by at least a decade. This would require two years to set right. The State had purchased power at a high cost of Rs. 20,000 crore instead of resorting to advanced procurement planning, Mr. Siddaramaiah, who has presented seven budgets, said.
Though the BJP presented an exclusive agriculture budget, the power supplied to farmers remained inadequate, resulting in crop loss on 60,000 acres across the State. There was no commensurate rise in agriculture GDP which even the Economic Survey reflected. Despite two editions of global investors’ meets and one agro investors’ meet, job opportunities were not enhanced. Instead, they were utilised to grab land, he added.
Though the Bhagyalakshmi scheme was a good one, parents of girls had not been given bonds for the past one year, he claimed. Mr. Siddaramaiah alleged that the Assembly Speaker was a tool in the hands of the Chief Minister.