KARNATAKA

CM misleading people: Siddaramaiah

GULBARGA March 30. The President of the State unit of the Janata Dal (S) and former Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, today accused the Chief Minister, S.M.Krishna, who holds the Finance portfolio, of misleading the people on the cut in the Plan size by projecting different figures in the Economic Survey Report and the Budget.

Talking to presspersons here, Mr. Siddaramaiah said while the cut in the Plan size for the current year was projected at Rs. 706 crore in the Economic Survey Report, the Chief Minister, in his Budget speech, said the anticipated cut in the Plan size was Rs. 200 crore. While the survey report put the anticipated achievement at Rs. 7,904 crore against the total Plan size of Rs. 8,611 crore, the Chief Minister had projected the achievement at Rs. 8,400 crore.

The contradictory figures on the achievements of the Plan size had caused confusion in the minds of the people, and the Government was making an attempt to project a higher achievement of the Plan targets.

Mr. Siddaramaiah wanted the Government to come out with details of achievements of the Plan targets to clear the confusion. Going by the survey report, he said the State had not achieved any growth in meeting the Plan targets which remained at Rs. 7,900 crore, which, incidentally, was also the Plan size for 2001-02.

He said the GDP growth rate had also come down from 5.6 per cent in 2001-02 to 4.4 per cent in 2002-03 due to the failure of the Government to achieve the Plan targets. Pointing out that the shortfall in revenue mobilisation was Rs. 1,600 crore, he said it was difficult to accept the claims of the Chief Minister that the cut in the Plan size was only Rs. 200 crore. Mr. Siddaramaiah who was the Finance Minister in the Janata Dal Government, said the rise in capital receipts from Rs. 6,600 crore to Rs. 7,700 crore during 2002-03 was an indication of the financial position of the State which pointed to the dependence of the Government on loans from external agencies to bridge the gap in revenue deficit. He said there was no scientific basis for the claim that unnecessary expenditure had been reduced from 17 to 12 per cent, and pointed out that the non-development expenditure was going up steadily.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said debt service was also increasing and it had been pegged at 19 per cent, and the loan burden of the Government had increased from Rs. 19,000 crore in 1999-2000 to Rs. 38,000 crore.

Mr. Siddaramaiah warned that if the Government did not control revenue and fiscal deficit, the State would face bankruptcy. He said the Government had not made an honest attempt to implement the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by the former minister, Haranahalli Ramaswamy, on the abolition of unwanted posts. It was creating new posts at the district and taluk levels further burdening the exchequer, he added.

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