Vote-on-Account Bill adopted in the absence of the Opposition
The State government has announced a grant of Rs. 30 lakh for each of the 224 Legislative Assembly constituencies to enable legislators meet the growing demand for expenditure towards drinking water and fodder supply.
Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, who is also Minister for Revenue, made a suo motu announcement soon after the reply to the budget by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar. The Rs. 30-lakh grant will be in addition to a similar amount provided earlier. The demand for a special grant had been a consistent demand from legislators during the present session of the legislature which ends on Friday.
The Chief Minister, in his reply to the budget, said the revenue surplus recorded by the State government had taken a dip owing to various reasons — pay revision for the nearly six-lakh government employees, waiver of cooperative loans announced a few months ago which in itself has cost the State exchequer around Rs. 3,600 crore, supply of free electricity to the below the poverty line families and the Bhagyalakshmi bond scheme for girls.
Dissatisfied with the reply provided by the Chief Minister, the entire Opposition led by the Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah staged a walk out with some of them raising slogans “this is a budget with an eye on the election. It is a bogus budget”. The Janata Dal (Secular) members were led by their floor leader and former Minister H.D. Revanna. The Karnataka Appropriation (Vote on Account) Bill and several other bills pertaining to amendments in taxation measures as a sequel to the announcements in the budget were thereafter adopted in the absence of the Opposition.
Mr. Shettar said, “We have maintained fiscal discipline whether it be in expenditure or borrowings. In particular, we have refrained from overdraft all along. The financial health of the State is sound.”
Earlier, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the financial health of the State was bad and the attempts by the Chief Minister to compare the financial status of the State with that of some poorly performing States was improper. “A comparison should be made with some of the progressive States and merely stating that all parameters on the financial front are in accordance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act will not suffice. The finances of the State is not robust as is being made out to be and tax revenues are high owing to the high incidence of taxation,” he said.
He said, the interest payment on the financial debts alone cost the exchequer nearly Rs. 7,500 crore although the dues to the State on various accounts was around Rs. 5,000 crore.
In the current financial year, the plan expenditure is expected to be not more than 70 per cent and the expenditure up to December 31 has just been around 50 per cent while the total receipts (up to December) was also only 42 per cent.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said contrary to the announcement in the budget that the Bharatiya Janata Party government had added over 4500 MW to the electricity generation capacity (in the last four and a half years) , the addition was only 783 MW, including 500 MW at the Bellary Thermal Power Station and 210 MW at the Raichur Thermal Power Station.
Financial health of the State is sound, says Shettar It is not so, says Siddaramaiah
Financial health of the State is sound, says Shettar
It is not so, says Siddaramaiah