Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman clarified that the Central government has no outstanding matters with Karnataka. She mentioned that the decision regarding the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) allocation for drought relief in the state, which is pending, will be determined once the high-power committee reaches a decision.
Addressing reporters, she highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's extensive experience as a Chief Minister for over 10 years equips him with a deep understanding of the importance for states to receive their funds promptly.
In response to a question on Congress government here alleging delay in release of Central funds to Karnataka Sitharaman said,"The state government can throw the allegations. He can send me the letter and much before the letter reaches me he can put it in social media, the minister or the chief minister. And I say not just this in Bengaluru, I've even, two days ago when I was in Kerala, I said that."
"There is nothing pending from our side for Karnataka, I'm an MP from the state, and I have a responsibility also. There's nothing pending. Well if the state doesn't send me the required paper, I will keep waiting for the paper to send it. I can't send money, without authorization of the Accountant General. So that's the truth behind any allegation, the allegation without facts in them," the Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka added.
Last month, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused the BJP-led Union government of burdening Karnataka. He claimed that funds for 61 Centrally sponsored schemes across 23 departments were not released, and Karnataka's tax share was slashed, resulting in a loss of ₹45,000 crore since 2020.
Furthermore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is seen as representing Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, reportedly declined to approve the promised ₹5,495 crore special grant, as posted on 'X'. Siddaramaiah added that, “alarmingly, Karnataka receives just 15 paise for every rupee it contributes in tax.”
Responding to a question about NDRF funds for drought relief in Karnataka, Sitharaman stated, "For NDRF, there is a committee. The Home Minister looks into it. I had Minister Krishna Byre Gowda come and meet me. I explained that the decided funds will be allocated, and SDRF money is in the state government's hands."
Stating that it's not as if NDRF money will not come, she said, "The assessment team, the technical team, they all came and made a team assessment, they've submitted to the high powered committee. The moment the committee recommends the money is going to come. It is due to the state. Nobody's going to stop it."
The Karnataka government has declared 223 out of 236 taluks in the state as drought-hit. The state has criticized the Centre for delaying drought relief funds per NDRF norms. Finance Minister Sitharaman mentioned efforts to aid North Karnataka farmers, urging the ITC group to procure available stock for immediate financial assistance. She visited a 'Jan Aushadi Kendra' in Bengaluru, emphasizing the growing popularity and cost savings of generic medicines. Sitharaman highlighted the positive impact on families, particularly the middle and lower classes, allowing more disposable income for essential needs.
Image source: Deccan Herald