Nirmala Sitharaman Rejects Congress Charges, Says Centre Owes Nothing To Karnataka

Nirmala Sitharaman said PM Modi knows what it is for states to get their money in time since he has been a Chief Minister for more than 10 years.

Nirmala Sitharaman Rejects Congress Charges, Says Centre Owes Nothing To Karnataka

There is nothing pending from our side for Karnataka, said Nirmala Sitharaman. (File)

Bengaluru:

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said there is "nothing pending" from the central government to Karnataka and the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for the drought relief to the state, which is due, will be decided once the high-power committee decides.

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, she said because Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been Chief Minister of a state for more than 10 years, he knows what it is for states to get their money in time.

"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," Ms Sitharaman said in response to a question on Congress government here alleging delay in release of Central funds to Karnataka.

"There is nothing pending from our side for Karnataka, I'm a MP from the state, 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 authorisation 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.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had last month alleged that the BJP-led Union government has burdened our state by not releasing funds for 61 Centrally sponsored schemes across 23 departments, and slashing Karnataka's tax share, resulting in a Rs 45,000 crore loss since 2020.

To add to that, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who supposedly represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha, decided not to approve the Rs 5,495 crore special grant that was promised, he had posted on 'X', adding that "alarmingly, Karnataka receives just 15 paise for every rupee it contributes in tax."

Responding to a question on the release of NDRF funds for drought relief to Karnataka, Ms Sitharaman said, "For NDRF, there is a committee. The Home Minister looks into it. I had Minister (Revenue Minister of Karnataka) Krishna Byre Gowda come and meet me. Even there I explained to him saying the money whichever is being decided will be -- and the SDRF money is in the hands of the state government to spend."

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 the total 236 taluks in the state as drought hit, and the state government has been repeatedly attacking the Centre for delay in release of drought relief funds, as per NDRF norms.

She further said, for the north Karnataka farmers, she has asked the ITC group to come and procure stock that is there with them, so that immediately some money can go into the hands of the farmers. "Even that team has come."

Ms Sitharaman today visited a 'Jan Aushadi Kendra' on Subedar Chatram Road here.

Noting that the Prime Minister dedicated to the nation the landmark 10,000th Jan Aushadi Kendra at AIIMS, Deoghar in Jharkhand, she said, Jan Aushadi Kendras are steadily becoming popular among families all over the country. Particularly, the middle class and the poorer sections are getting better informed that the same medicine equally effective is available as a generic medicine drug, she said.

Due to Jan Aushadi Kendras, people are able to save, as in some cases medicines are 70 per cent lesser price or 66 per cent lesser, she said. "It leaves a lot of money in the common people's hands. Middle class, lower middle class, poor people will have some more money left and their hand which they can use for their children, for the elders and for the family."

Further stating that now more than 2,000 drugs are available through these stores, she appealed to the people of Bengaluru to support this very noble cause of medicines being available at affordable prices. "It's a great relief for the middle class, lower middle class and the poorer sections of our society." 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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