Under opposition flak over a spate of killings of Hindu and BJP activists, the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka today asserted it had taken effective steps to maintain law and order and dealt firmly with sporadic incidents of communal violence in the state. “My government has taken effective steps to maintain law and order in the state and ensured communal harmony and public order,” Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala told a joint session of the state legislature, the last ahead of Assembly polls slated to be held later this year. Sporadic incidents of communal violence had been firmly dealt with, he said. The reference to law and order comes amid a charge by the principal opposition BJP that the Siddaramaiah government was being “soft” towards “Jihadi forces” whom it had blamed for the killings of Hindu, BJP and Sangh Parivar activists.
The assertion also comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an all-out attack on the government at a public rally here, accusing it of creating new records in corruption and dubbing it a “10 per cent commission government”. Modi during his speech had also alleged that criminals were ruling the roost and “ease of doing murders” was being discussed in the state while his government talked about “ease of doing business”.
In his address, the governor also spoke about the state government’s commitment to fight corruption. “My government continues to fight corruption in public services. A series of e-governance initiatives have increased the transparency and efficiency of public service,” he said. Pointing out that an anti-corruption bureau (ACB) was set up to effectively deal with corruption cases, he said it had registered 404 cases — “278 trap cases, 65 raid cases and 61 other cases”.
Since its creation, out of the 106 cases received by the government, prosecution sanction order was given in 72, he said, adding that awareness was being created on the working of the ACB by conducting public awareness meetings. Vala held that the Karnataka government had made “remarkable strides” in achieving economic growth and securing social justice and welfare for all sections of society in the last five years. It had also made “notable progress” in reaching the goal of a “hunger-free Karnataka”, he said. Highlighting the fiscal prudence of the state government, he mentioned concerns on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax.
“GST has been implemented in the country with effect from July 1, 2017. While we were completely ready for implementation, taxpayers have been facing various challenges in complying with the legal requirements envisaged under GST on the IT platform developed for this purpose,” Vala said.
“In addition, we have been witnessing frequent changes being carried out in the initial months,” he said, adding that because of these reasons, GST collections had been fluctuating. “But the shortfall is expected to be made good by the compensation due from the central government,” he said.
The governor also reiterated the state government’s commitment towards ensuring justice to the state on the issue of water from the Cauvery and Krishna basins. He said the government would also continue to make all efforts to ensure the rightful share of water for the people of Karnataka from the Mahadayi basin, the issue on which the state has locked horns with neighbouring Goa.