Mysore, Aug 3:-
“Though the Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr B S Yeddyurappa, has held the Finance portfolio for over three years, he doesn’t know ‘ABCD’ of financial management. He badly needs finance classes. If requested, I will help him. Let him accept incompetence, the Opposition can sit and watch State heading towards bankruptcy,” feels the senior Congress leader and former deputy chief minister, Mr Siddaramaiah.
Mr Siddaramaiah laughed at Chief Minister’s comparison of State borrowing with Centre’s borrowings. “It is another elementary comment. How can there be any comparison between the State and the Centre. The Centre has vast resources to pay back the debt while for the State other than Sales tax there is no resource to bank upon,” he said.
The debt stock of State stood at Rs 75,000 crore in last fiscal year and was expected to increase to Rs 85,000 crore in this fiscal. This was almost one-third of the State’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). If the State Government continues to accept loans, there would be a situation where Karnataka has to pledge its properties to pay salaries to its employees. “Borrowing loans should be based on affordability but not on the basis of availability,” he observed.
Many Karnataka developmental works are being carried out with the Central Government’s works under various programmes. Even spending the Centre’s funds is a problem with this Government. For instance, the heritage city Mysore which was allotted Rs 1,834 crore under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) has seen little development.
Three years passed since Mysore was included in the JNNURM. The results so far have not been encouraging, as there has been very little headway in project implementation.
People thought that the city would undergo rapid change and would have good infrastructure, making it the best city to live in.
However, in the past three years, the project has not been able to achieve the kind of progress anticipated by the people. Officials entrusted with the JNNURM projects managed to kick-start only projects worth Rs 250 crore. The duration of the JNNURM is seven years. It will be wrapped up in 2012. The total outlay of Rs. 1,834 crore has to be utilised by that time, Mr Siddaramaiah said.
“When cities such as Nagpur can utilise Rs. 470 crore in the first year of the JNNURM, why is it that the officials here cannot utilise the funds? While the funds released to Mysore have not crossed the Rs. 200 crore mark, cities in other States have managed to get more than Rs. 1,000 crore,” said Mr M. Lakshmana, convener, Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICm).