Flood victims’ issues should be top priority: Siddaramaiah

Congress Legislative Party leader and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed discontent over the way the State and Union governments were handling flood relief and rehabilitation work in the State.

Addressing media persons here on Tuesday, he said, “The government had announced ₹10,000 to each flood-hit family as temporary relief. But it is not given to them, let alone used for rehabilitation work. District in-charge Ministers are not visiting the areas. CM Yediyurappa visited some areas and assured rehabilitation. But, no notable progress is seen. Not a single rupee is given to the farmers for the crops and houses they lost. The government should pay attention and address these issues on a priority basis,” he said.

Pointing to the new villages built after the 2009 floods, he said people had not moved here as the houses were too small for agricultural families to live.

“After the 2009 floods, many flood-prone villages were identified for completely shifting to safer places. The houses built in the new places with the help of donors were too small for an agricultural family to live. The farmers cannot take care of their animals and stock farm inputs and outputs in these small houses. So, nobody went to the new houses. Ten years on, all these houses are completely damaged and unusable. The new villages don’t have basic needs such as roads, electricity and drinking water. Thorny bushes have been grown all over. Nobody can live there,” he said.

He also expressed his discontent with the way the Centre was implementing the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). “The purpose of the scheme is to empower rural labourers by providing them with enough work. The people in rural areas need the scheme when they are in a crisis caused by floods and droughts. But, after BJP came to power at the Centre, the implementation of MGNREGA has taken back seat. The Centre has not provided enough funds for it. Same is the case with irrigation. The UPA government had introduced a scheme called Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Scheme but the Centre has stopped funding it,” he said.


At an event at Gunj Kalyan Mantap on Tuesday, Mr. Siddaramaiah said GST introduced by the Centre had disturbed the trade environment in the country. “We proposed it. But our GST was different. Any tax should not cross 18%. But, the Centre is imposing up to 28% tax under GST. The unscientific GST has spoiled the business environment and created havoc among small traders in the country. The tax regime should always help the country’s economic progress. It should not slowdown the growth,” he said.

“Economic stability is a key factor in the progress of any country. The GDP growth and the development of agriculture are very important for India. But, improper economic measures and unscientific taxation by the BJP government at the Centre has spoiled the economic environment in the country,” he said.

“As a Chief Minister, I had presented budgets for five years. The size of the first budget was ₹1 lakh crore and that of the last was ₹2.18 lakh crore. I could undertake various pro-people initiatives and welfare programmes spending a huge amount of money without putting the tax burden on the common people,” he said. He also recalled how the new industrial policy introduced by his government had helped the State achieve rapid industrial development.

“The BJP government in the State also said that they would come up with a new industrial policy. I have suggested to them [the government] to address issues that the industrial sector was facing. I have also suggested to not increase taxes on industries. Many industrialists have submitted a memorandum to me seeking many budgetary proposals for the industrial sector. I am in the Opposition and will raise those issues in the budget session,” he said.

Industrialists Bellam Narasareddy, Haravi Naganagowda, Kamal Kumar Jain, Lakshmi Reddy, Om Prakash Irani, Ashok Kumar, Jambanna, B.K. Goyal, Jagadish Gupta and others were present.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:34:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/flood-victims-issues-should-be-top-priority-siddaramaiah/article29570350.ece

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