Highlights

  • Kerala's ruling LDF to protest at Jantar Mantar
  • Tamil Nadu DMK MPs to protest at Gandhi statue
  • Alleged discrimination in allocation of funds

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Kerala, Tamil Nadu to join Karnataka govt protest in Delhi against Centre

Kerala and Tamil Nadu plan to join Karnataka to protest against the tax devolution formula set by the Finance Commission, which allegedly punishes the southern states for their successful implementation of population control measures.

 

Kerala, Tamil Nadu to join Karnataka govt protest in Delhi against Centre

Legislators from Kerala and Tamil Nadu will join their counterparts from Karnataka in Delhi on Thursday to protest against the alleged discrimination in allocation of funds by the Centre.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar led protests at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, claiming "injustice" was meted out to the state by the central government in devolution of taxes. Karnataka ranks second in Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection and yet they allege the Centre has purposefully reduced the state's share of tax revenue. The Congress-led government also said "not even a single rupee" was released as drought relief to the state.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman denied the charges and accused Congress of spreading a "false narrative" on the issue of fund allocation by the Centre to states. She also asserted that the devolution of taxes and grants to Karnataka and all other states have been done in line with the recommendations of the Finance Commission, with no discrimination whatsoever.

However, the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu have similar complaints. They plan to join Karnataka to protest the tax devolution formula set by the Finance Commission, which allegedly punishes the southern states for their successful implementation of population control measures.

The 15th Finance Commission's calculations give a higher weightage to a state's population and shortfall in per capita income than their demographic performance. Through this calculation, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar received the largest devolutions, while Karnataka and Kerala saw the largest decline.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the narrative and urged opposition governments to stop creating a divide in the country between the north and the south. "The way language is being spoken these days to break the country, these new narratives are being made for political gains. An entire state is speaking this language, nothing can be worse for the country than this," he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan refuted the allegations, asking everyone not to view the protest through the lens of partisan politics. He accused the Centre of neglecting Kerala, and said the state was forced to protest to get what they're rightfully eligible for.

Vijayan said states like Kerala that have successfully implemented population control measures should be protected from a disproportionate fall in their share of revenue.

According to the chief minister, the Centre's discriminatory approach is leading to a financial crunch in Kerala and impacting the state's social welfare efforts. He also alleged that BJP and NDA-ruled states are getting favourable treatment.

The Kerala Chief Minister and members of his Left Democratic Front government are scheduled to hold a protest at Jantar Mantar today.

Tamil Nadu MPs of the ruling DMK and its alliance partners will protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex.


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