From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Feb 12: The claims spread by State BJP leaders including its President B Y Vijayendra that former RBI Governor Dr Raghuram Rajan had recommended reduction in Karnataka’s share in tax revenue is wrong and inaccurate, said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
In a detailed statement to the media on Monday, he said: “It is unfortunate how people in responsible positions post fake narratives to push their agenda. It is in the DNA of BJP to spread fake news.’’
He said the recent statements by some BJP leaders, including Vijayendra, regarding the devolution of funds to Karnataka were based on a committee headed by Dr Rajan were ‘factually inaccurate’.
Siddaramaiah explained that the mandate of the committee headed by Dr Rajan was for ‘Evolving a Composite Development Index of States. Contrary to the claims made (by BJP leaders), the committee's primary objective was not to recommend changes in the states' share of tax revenue. Instead, its purpose was to identify backward states based on various criteria, thereby helping in the equitable allocation of development funds to address regional disparities’.
The focus of the Dr Rajan Committee was for ‘ensuring a balanced distribution of certain development funds to enhance the overall growth and progress of all states, particularly those lagging in specific development parameters’.
“The recommendations made by the committee were explicitly intended to guide the allocation of certain development funds from the Centre to the States. These recommendations were not meant to replace existing methodologies for devolution of taxes allocation. The committee's report clearly states that its framework should be used alongside other existing methodologies, including that of Finance Commission’s recommendations for share of tax devolution, for a holistic and fair allocation of resources,’’ he said.
The Chief Minister said the Finance Commission, which is constitutionally mandated to determine the distribution of tax revenues between the Centre and the States, operates independently of the committee mentioned above.
“The claim that the Finance Commission accepted the committee's report and that the committee headed by Dr Rajan influenced the reduction in Karnataka's tax share is unfounded and misleading,’’ he said
He also explained that the subsequent 14th Finance Commission report (submitted on 15 December, 2014), which came after the committee's recommendations (submitted in September 2013), proposed an increase in the devolution of taxes to Karnataka, from 4.328% in the 13th Finance Commission to 4.713% in the 14th Finance Commission.
“This increase clearly contradicts the allegations that the committee's report led to a reduction in Karnataka's tax share. Karnataka’s tax share was actually reduced by the 15th Finance Commission which was constituted by Narendra Modi government and whose report was submitted on November 2019. Was the 15th Finance Commission constituted in 2019 by Narendra influenced by some committee which gave a report in September 2013?’’ the Chief Minister asked.
In a direct charge that ‘BJP Betrays Karnataka’, the Chief Minister said it is ‘deeply disheartening to witness the extent to which B Y Vijayendra and other BJP leaders from Karnataka are willing to forsake the very heart and soul of Kannadiga pride, all for the sake of winning approval from BJP high command’.
“Their (BJP leaders) actions reveal a chilling indifference, as if the act of deceiving their own people doesn't weigh on their conscience. This act of betrayal, this glaring abandonment of honesty, tears at the very essence of Karnataka Pride,’’ he added.