HDK opposes NITI Aayog’s Ease of Living Index


From Our Special Correspondent

Daiiworld Media Network

Bengaluru, Jun 16: NITI Aayog’s Ease of Living Index is not acceptable, said Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Chief Minister Kumaraswamy took exception to the raking system adopted by NITI Aayog and said 58th rank to Bengaluru in Ease of Living Index is ``totally unacceptable.’’

Speaking at the 5th Governing Council of the NITI Aayog in Delhi on Saturday, the Chief Minister said ranking system should be more participative, scientific and transparent.

“Giving 58th rank to Bengaluru in Ease of Living Index is unacceptable as Bengaluru is widely rated as the most preferred city for work in the country by reputed agencies,” he said.

The State contributes about Rs 3 lakh crore of IT exports and over 35% of India’s biotech industry revenue.

The State capital, Bengaluru, continues to retain its lead as the Start-up Capital of the country being home to over 7,000 Start-ups, he said.

The State was investing Rs 2800 crore during 2019-20 for rural drinking water out of which the share of the Centre was only Rs 400 crore.

He urged the Centre to significantly increase the allocation to rural drinking water sector.

The Centre was yet to reimburse over Rs 1500 crore advance paid by the State over and above its share under the MGNREGA.

He appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to significantly increase the allocation of the job scheme so that the workers were not subjected to hardship due to delays in payment of wages.

The government predicted a steep fall in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) at the end of 2022-23 as compared to the protected revenue of 2021-22 which will have accrued to the State due to the constitutionally guaranteed compensation.

Congratulating the newly elected NDA government and thanking Prime Minister and NITI Aayog Chairman Narendra Modi, Kumaraswamy said while the revenue gap is being bridged by the assured compensation till 2022, the State has limited scope to mobilize additional revenue thereafter.

He said shortfall in revenue would “adversely impact developmental and other infrastructural projects implemented in the State as well as committed expenditure of the State Government.”

In case this revenue gap was not bridged in the coming years despite all compliance efforts, adequate compensation, in the manner as envisaged in the Compensation Act, should be extended beyond 2022, the Chief Minister said.

On the Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), he said the overall estimated grants from the Centre under CSS schemes decreased from Rs 16,525 crore in 2014-15 (RE) to ?10,099 crore in 2019-20 (BE).

These figures denote a drop in grants from 15.17 % of the overall revenue receipts in 2014-15 (RE) to 5.55% in 2019-20 (BE).
He said the Centre has scaled down its engagement with rural drinking water

Regarding railway projects, he said the State has agreed to provide land free of cost in addition to contributing 50% of the project cost.
He urged the Centre to share the State’s burden for the ongoing projects by increase its share to at least two-thirds of the project cost including the cost of the land.

Kumaraswamy called on the Prime Minister and sought central assistance to the state reeling under severe drought due to 45% shortfall in the rainfall.

During the Khariff2018-19, 100 taluks were declared drought-affected. The estimated loss due to Khariff drought was about Rs 16,660 crore.

A memorandum seeking financial assistance of Rs 2434 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund was submitted to the Centre.

However, only Rs 949 crore was released from NDRF for drought relief in 72 severely affected taluks.

During the Rabi 2018-19, 156 taluks were declared as drought affected. The estimated loss during Rabi to agriculture and horticulture crops was ?11,384 crore. Financial assistance of Rs 2064 crore under NDRF for crop loss under the Rabi season.

The state has experienced 12 years of drought out of the last 15 years. ``We have therefore accorded very high priority to long term measures to drought proof the State. We have declared 2019-2020 as Karnataka’s “Year of Water,’’ he said.

"We have also launched an important programme called “Jalamrutha” to promote water literacy, to conserve water through revival and creation of new water bodies, and to promote greening through planting of 2 crore trees, he said.

  

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