Bangalore: Shettar answers Yeddy through Governor: State finances sound
From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Feb 4: In an apparent attempt to silence the former chief minister and KJP leader B S Yeddyurappa, who had demanded a white paper on the State’s finances from chief minister Jagadish Shettar ahead of the State’s annual budget presentation on February 8, the BJP regime sought to reassure the people of Karnataka through the address of the State Governor H R Bhardwaj to the joint session of the State Legislature on Monday.
Karnataka government’s financial position is very sound with tax revenue among the highest in the country, doubling in the last five years, the Governor said in his address to the joint session of the State Legislature, which is a speech approved by the Shettar regime.
“Fiscal deficit and public debt have been within the targets prescribed by the Central government and the 13th Finance Commission,’’ Bhardwaj said pointing out that tax revenues of the state have more than doubled during the last five years.
Tax revenue is 10 per cent of GSDP and per capita plan expenditure is Rs 6810, both among the highest in the country, he said adding: Plan size has increased by two and a half times over the last five years.
Foodgrain Production Touched 124 lac Tonnes
In spite of deficit rainfall, the Governor said the annual food grain production had touched 125 lakh tonnes, higher than last year’s 118 lakh tonnes.
Bhardwaj said a centre of good governance is being constituted and a compendium of citizen-centric innovations has been brought about to replicate success stories.
The State has crossed transactions amounting to Rs 1,63,000 crore through e-procurement, leading to a saving of 10 per cent to state exchequer, which is very positive and most noteworthy achievement.
Maintenance of land records is being modernised through scanning and digitisation, in order to ensure that individual’s property title is protected, the Governor said reading out the 18-page address in 25-minute address, without any disturbance from the members.
Malleswaram-Peenya Metro Link by June
First phase of Bangalore Metro project has already been commissioned, Bhardwaj said another 10.5 km between Peenya and Malleswaram would be operational in June this year.
Approval for 72-kms long Phase 2 costing Rs 26,405 crore was on the cards and when completed the city’s traffic congestion would be considerably eased, he said.
In order to reduce global warming, generation through renewable energy sources is emphasised, he said adding that 1913 mw of renewable energy projects had been commissioned.
''Bundle of Lies, Flogging Dead Horse"
However, the Opposition Congress dubbed the Governor’s address to joint session of the State legislature as a “bundle of lies and lacking programmatic action.”
Congress Opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah said the BJP Government had only made false promises during the last four and half year of its rule. ''Shettar is flogging a dead horse,” he said.
The Government had used the Governor’s address to repeat all the old schemes announced earlier. There were no details on the performances of the schemes already launched. No steps have been announced to tackle drinking water crisis in drought-hit villages and overcome shortage of power.
The government only implemented 40 per cent of schemes formulated in the last budget (2012-13), he claimed.
State Plunged into Darkness
The State has been facing severe shortage of electricity and villages have been receiving only two hours of three-phase power. The State plunged into darkness due to frequent power cuts in urban and rural areas. There was no substance in the Government’s claim that it has added 4593 MW to the State’s grid during its rule.
''Why there was no power in villages if the generation was increased?,” Siddaramaiah asked.
A majority of the Government’s schemes remained only on paper. “The Government’s claim on sound fiscal position is totally false and a big lie,”he contended.
The Government’s outstanding debt increased from Rs 59,000 crore to Rs 1.20 lakh crore in the last four and half years. There was no money for payments of social security schemes such as old age pension, widow pension, disabled pension etc, the Congress leader alleged.
JD(S) floor leader H D Revanna urged the Government to take steps to release funds for tackling drinking water in drought-hit taluks and electricity shortage.
The Government should also relax norms for providing jobs under the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Revanna demanded.
Shettar Claims No Threat to Govt, Will Keep Feb 8 Budget Date
Unperturbed by the efforts of his main tormentor and KJP Chief B S Yeddyurappa to torpedo the BJP Government and prevent the presentation of the State’s annual budget for the year 2013-14 on February 8, Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Monday claimed that there was no threat to his government.
''I will go ahead with the presentation of the budget as scheduled on February 8,” the Chief Minister said after the State Governor H R Bhardwaj completed his address to the join session of the State Legislature on Monday.
Incidentally, today’s was perhaps the first address of the State Governor during the tenure of the present BJP regime during which no disturbance whatsoever and Bharadwaj finished reading out his 16-page address smoothly without any hitch.
Shettar said he was least worried. ''What is there to worry?,” he asked.
When reporters sought to know whether Shettar, who is also holding the finance portfolio and will be presenting his maiden budget during the last session of the State Legislature during the term of the present assembly, would be able to present the budget due to the resignation of some of the ruling party MLAs and threats from a few more MLAs owing allegiance to Yeddyurappa, the Chief Minister said such things are part of the political life.
''The State Government enjoys a clear majority in the House at the moment,” he said and made it clear that he would not worry about what may or may not happen.
The BJP Government came to power with a specific mandate to rule the State for a term of 5 years and nobody can prevent that, he said and pointed out that the Government cannot be run on the basis of ifs and buts.
The Chief Minister said he would welcome constructive criticism and suggestions from opposition parties, when his attention was drawn to opposition criticisms of his government.
It may be recalled that 13 BJP MLAs, loyal to former Chief Minister and KJP president Yeddyurapp, had submitted their resignations from the House membership to Speaker K G Bopaiah. But 12 resignations were accepted and one was turned down on technical grounds.
One more BJP MLA had submitted his resignation on February 1 by going all the way to Madikeri but its fate is yet to be known.
The development posed no threat to the six month-old Shettar ministry as the effective strength of the 224-member House has been reduced with 12 more seats falling vacant in addition to the two earlier. Yeddyurappa and Haladi Srinivas Shetty have already quit.
With the acceptance of resignation of 12 MLAs, the BJP now has a strength of 105, Congress 71, JDS 26, independents seven (one of whom is supporting the Government and is in the Ministry) and the Speaker.
Thus, the ruling BJP still enjoys a majority in the House at present and if necessary can bank on the support of the Speaker. The nominated Anglo-Indian member can also cast his vote in favour of the government.