Siddaramaiah says the government is confident of achieving the Plan targets

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asserted that the slowdown in the country’s economy has not affected Karnataka’s growth rate.

There has been buoyancy in resource mobilisation and the average growth in resource mobilisation in the State was around 15 per cent of the target at August-end, he told reporters in Gulbarga on Saturday.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the State government was confident of achieving the Plan targets and the State’s Plan size would not be cut.

The Chief Minister said Karnataka had so far topped the south Indian States in revenue mobilisation. Except for a slight shortfall in revenue mobilisation by way of motor vehicle taxes, all other departments had exceeded the targets till August-end. Revenue mobilisation by way of commercial taxes had increased by over 15 per cent. In other departments, the increase ranged from 8 to 15 per cent.

Asked whether the Union government had asked the State to cut down expenditure and introduce austerity measures, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the Centre had not issued any directions in this connection and the State government on its own had introduced measures to cut down wasteful expenditure.

He reiterated there was no proposal to drop Minister of State for Information Santosh Lad from the Cabinet as demanded by the BJP. He said the BJP was making a mountain out of molehill.

Referring to the CID report on the Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) scam, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the Cabinet had taken two decisions after discussing the interim report: all answer scripts in question would be re-evaluated by a different set of evaluators and all interviews conducted so far would be treated null and void.

Fresh interviews would be conducted after the re-evaluation and marks obtained in the written examination would not be announced prior to the interview as was being done by the Union Public Service Commission The panel of interviewers would include subject experts and all of them would compulsorily give marks, he said.

The Chief Minister said the State government proposes to introduce reforms in the functioning of the KPSC and make it more transparent and accountable. To another question, he said he would not respond to “irresponsible” statements of JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy.

On the fate of the new taluks announced by the previous BJP government, he said the government would look into the issue and a decision would be taken soon.

To another question, Mr. Siddaramaiah said a Cabinet meeting would be held in Gulbarga city this year too. He, however, did not give the dates of the proposed meeting.

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