Criticising the government for not announcing loan waiver despite consecutive years of drought, opposition BJP in Karnataka Assembly today called the budget presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah as a budget of debt. Initiating debate on the budget presented on March 15, BJP leader Jagadish Shettar hit out at the government for criticising demonetisation in the budget without giving any facts and figures regarding its impact on the state’s economy. The government has not made any announcement regarding loan waiver despite severe distress because of consecutive years of drought, he said. Siddaramaiah who has a record of presenting 12 budgets to his credit has presented “a budget of loan and debt”.
The Government had proposed to mop up loans to the tune of Rs 37,000 crore when the state is already facing a debt of Rs 2,20,000 crore, he said. As Shettar reminded Siddaramaiah of criticising the government against taking loan while he was in the opposition, the Chief Minister intervened stating the government should not take loan based on the availability, but on the basis of affordability.
He said the government was taking loan within the provisions of 25 per cent limit prescribed in the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act. Taking strong exception to criticism of demonetisation in the budget, he said without any valid reason the Congress government was against it just for political reasons. “Where are the numbers? Inform the House and the people of the state how much demonetisation has affected the state. You just make a mention that stamps and registrations has been affected, but it is due to increase in the guidance value”, he said.
Coming down heavily on the government for not announcing loan waiver to farmers, the former Chief Minister said “when you are presenting a budget of Rs 1,86,000 crore size, why cant you just waive off Rs 10,000 crore the farmers have taken as loan from cooperative banks.” Shettar also accused the government of indulging in “appeasement politics” by pointing out at certain farmer friendly schemes in the budget that are exclusively for minority community. BJP today took part in the discussion on budget after holding up the proceedings of the House for two consecutive days with their protest demanding debate on the alleged diary entries of payoffs to Congress leaders.
Calling the government “adamant” for not agreeing to discussion on the issue relating to a diary reportedly recovered by the Income Tax department from the residence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s Parliamentary Secretary K Govindaraju, Shettar accused Congress of looting state’s money and paying it to its high command. BJP will take back its protest in the House keeping in mind the state’s interest and to discuss important issues like drought concerning the state, adding the party will take the diary issue to the people in an effective way, he said. Excerpts from the diary allegedly shows a few acronyms similar to names of some central Congress leaders, apart from Govindaraju, and the amount in crores of rupees against them, which was purportedly paid or received.