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FM Sitharaman hits out at Karnataka govt for having separatist mindset

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FM Sitharaman hits out at Karnataka govt for having separatist mindset and spreading false narrative about Centre’s alleged discrimination against state in fund allocation

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hit out at the Congress-led Karnataka government for having a separatist mindset and spreading false narrative about Centre’s alleged discrimination against the state in fund allocation. Speaking to media on Wednesday, she gave a point by point rebuttal to the claims made by the state government. She accused the Chief Minister and his colleagues of making outrageously false charges.

Her statement came against the backdrop of Congress leaders from Karnataka led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah staging protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The Congress leaders claimed that injustice has been meted out to the state by the Centre in devolution of taxes and alleged delay in providing drought relief.

Ms Sitharaman also took a strong exception to the advertisement issued by the Karnataka government in national dailies to highlight its allegations against the Central government. She said, these claims come from a separatist mindset. The Minister alleged that the Congress is with those who want division of the country claiming that the advertisement promotes such a language. She also cited the remarks of Member Parliament D K Suresh from Karnataka, who had said that the South India may seek a separate country if the Centre’s alleged discrimination continues.

Ms Sitharaman who represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, presented figures of the funds allocated to the state from the Centre to reject the charges. She claimed that the Siddaramaiah government is feeling the heat due to the financial burden of nearly 58 thousand crore rupees for implementation of his party’s poll promises.

The Minister said, currently, devolution of States’ share is done as per recommendations of 15th Finance Commission. She said, Government of Karnataka has sought to portray undue accruals to the Centre through increase in cess and surcharge levied by Government of India in a deliberately misleading manner, by omitting to mention that a large part of the Cess collection comprises GST Compensation Cess.

Ms Sitharaman said, this Cess does not belong to the Centre and goes entirely for the benefit of the States. She said, claims by Government of Karnataka of discrimination in sharing central taxes are patently wrong. Ms Sitharaman said, there are factual errors, false monetary claims, misleading statements and selective mention of certain losses allegedly suffered without mentioning of the gains that have accrued to the State in the 15th Finance Commission.

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi also slammed the Siddaramaiah Government spreading false narrative.

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