Even as Karnataka is braces itself for crucial assembly polls to be held on 12th May this year, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with the Congress has started projecting himself as a leader of the masses, especially the poor and the downtrodden. He has been relying on the various populist schemes that were announced by him throughout his tenure, especially Anna Bhagya(Read the truth here), in order to project himself as a radical pro-poor Chief Minister. However, most of the schemes announced by him have been a recreation of the schemes formulated by the Modi government. In fact, many of his schemes were merely a way of taking credit for the welfare work carried out by the Modi government in the state.
Despite his tall claims of having worked tirelessly for the welfare of the state, especially for the poor, the numbers tell a grim story. Going by statistics, it appears that the Modi government did not discriminate at all with the state of Karnataka even though it was ruled by the opposition. In fact, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made it clear in 2015 itself that he will not discriminate against states governed by opposition parties. He had also promised in April 2015 to give Karnataka central share of tax revenue to the tune of 1.83 lakh crore in the next five years as opposed to allocation of Rs. 61,600 crores in the previous five years. Accordingly, the 13th Finance Commission also increased the allocation to Karnataka to Rs. 24,800 crores, as opposed to Rs. 14,600 crores in the previous year.
However, the Karnataka government led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been guilty of grossly underutilizing the funds released by the Centre. According to Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers Ananth Kumar, the Modi government had released Rs. 368 crores for the development of existing roads, and also for new roads in the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad. He added that this was for the first time in six decades that funds to such an extent were released for the development and construction of roads in the region. However, the state government has failed to utilize the funds in time, and as a result, most of the road projects have been stalled. The Siddaramaiah government meanwhile has kept harping on imaginary step motherly treatment by the centre.
However, this is not the only instance where funds released by the centre have gone unutilized or grossly underutilized by virtue of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s negligence and petty politics. Karnataka’s government has displayed inability in utilizing funds for all major schemes under his leadership.
Coming to scheme specific details, some of the major misses on the part of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah have been the utilization of merely Rs. 272 crores out of the sanctioned Rs. 1363 crores of central government assistance under AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation). Similarly, the Siddaramaiah government has shown total incompetency in distributing benefits under the Modi government’s flagship scheme, Fasal Bima Yojana. 668.50 crore rupees worth premium was paid (partly by farmers) to the registered insurance companies during the Rabi season of 2016-17. However, claims to the tune of Rs. 330 crores have remained unprocessed due to delays by the state government for over one year.
In another shocking display of Siddaramaiah’s incompetence, the Karnataka government has spent only Rs 1,203.45 in the last three years for tackling drought out of the sanctioned funds of Rs 4,898.15 crore released by the Centre. It must be borne in mind that Karnataka has been reeling under severe drought for the last three years consecutively. The centre released huge grants to Karnataka under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), envisioned to provide drinking water to the poorest of the poor. However, the Siddaramaiah government has grossly underutilized the funds for this scheme. It has underspent the allocations to the tune of Rs. 95 crores in 2016-17, Rs. 90 crores in 2015-16, Rs. 179 crores in 2014-15 and Rs. 237 crores in 2013-14.
The list of the Siddaramaiah government’s incompetent acts is too long to be described in totality. Karnataka has been getting massive grants from the centre on all fronts ever since the Modi government came to the helm of affairs. However, it seems that the Siddaramaiah government is least interested in the welfare of the people of Karnataka. Engrossed in petty politics, the Siddaramaiah government has hardly made any sincere effort to make use of the generous allocation of funds from the Modi government.