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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Making false claims against FC shows Cong party’s separatist mindset: Sitharaman

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New Delhi: Addressing the logjam on the issue of funds devolution to Karnataka, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that making false claims against the Finance Commission in the media shows the separatist mindset of the Congress.

“Through this advertisement in the media, the Congress is taking forward the language of separatism. This is one of the ways to break the country into pieces, and that way is by making false claims against the Finance Commission,” she told reporters here.

Sitharaman said the Karnataka government has given full-page national newspaper advertisements by using taxpayers’ money, in which six claims have been made, but two of them are outrageously false.

“One, it says zero has been given by the Centre for drought, which is disaster relief. Not zero. I told you a total of Rs 12,476 crore, has been given for disaster management and capital investment.

“If we have given money for disaster relief, how are they (Karnataka government) mentioning it in the advertisement?” she asked.

Sitharaman also dismissed the Karnataka government’s claim on non-release of special grants to the state.

She said, “The ad also claims the special grant is a mirage. I mentioned in the beginning that the special grant was not even there in the final recommendation. So, there is no recommendation of the Finance Commission but you are mentioning that here.”

These false claims by the Congress are the offshoot of a separatist mindset, Sitharaman said.

“I would like to humbly say that all of these things are arising out of just one mindset – the mindset of separatism – what the Deputy CM’s brother said. Congress party today is with separatists and they don’t condemn them.

“In this case as well, through this advertisement, the Congress is taking forward the language of separatism. This is one of the ways to break the country into pieces. The way is by leveling false allegations on the Finance Commission,” she said.

Earlier, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led a “Chalo Delhi” protest by the state Congress leaders against the central government’s tax devolution policies.

Siddaramaiah alleged that for every Rs 100 given to the Centre, the state gets Rs 13 in return. He also said though Karnataka is the second-highest tax contributor nationwide, the centrally sponsored schemes grants have witnessed a consistent decline.

“From Rs 20,986 crore in 2021-22, it has sharply dropped to Rs 13,005 crore in 2023-24 – an alarming Rs 7,000 crore reduction,” he said.

The Centre is yet to release funds for flood relief and farmers issues in Karnataka, Karnataka CM alleged. “The reduction in our state’s share of central taxes from 4.71 percent in the 14th Finance Commission to 3.64 percent in the 15th Finance Commission has led to a staggering loss of approximately Rs 62,098 crore to Karnataka over five years,” he said

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