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Change criterion in 16th Finance Commission to divide taxes among states: K’taka CM

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New Delhi, Feb 7: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah urged the central government on Wednesday to change the criterion for the 16th Finance Commission concerning the allotment of tax money to states.

He made this plea while addressing a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi organised by the Karnataka Congress Government, highlighting alleged injustice to Karnataka in the Interim Budget.

CM Siddaramaiah emphasised the need for the central government to release the Rs 1.87 lakh crore loss incurred by the state since 2014.

“I am making this demand on behalf of the seven crore people of Karnataka. This historical protest is not against any specific party. I want to make it clear that it’s not against the BJP. That’s why I have written letters to BJP MLAs and MPs to participate in the protest. Although I expected their presence, they did not turn up,” he stated.

“We are raising the issue of discrimination against the state of Karnataka and other south Indian states by the Government of India. It is our duty to voice our concerns against injustice. We are not advocating for weakening the federal structure,” CM Siddaramaiah added.

Under the devolution of taxes, Karnataka was initially given a 4.71 per cent share, which subsequently decreased to 3.64 per cent. This reduction resulted in a 1.07 per cent loss, amounting to Rs 62,098 crore for the state in tax devolution.

Siddaramaiah questioned, “Should we not protest against this injustice? The 15th Finance Commission considered the 2011 Census.

“North Indian states did not control population growth, while South Indian states did.

“Consequently, the population of North India increased, and that of South India decreased.

“Unfortunately, controlling population growth turned out to be a curse for us. I am not suggesting that poorer Indian states should be allocated more funds.”

Addressing Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Siddaramaiah refuted her claim that the central government had no role in the devolution of taxes to states, citing the Finance Commission as an autonomous body.

Siddaramaiah pointed out that Sitharaman had refused the Rs 11,495 crore compensation package recommended by the commission for Karnataka.

He questioned, “Why did you refuse? After all, she is representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha.”

Following the protest at Jantar Mantar, the Congress leaders from Karnataka went to the residence of AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge in New Delhi.  IANS

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