Highlights

  • Kerala, Tamil Nadu legislators protest in Delhi
  • Alleged injustice in allocation of funds, grants
  • 3 Southern states question tax devolution formula

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Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka protest in Delhi against Centre

Three states -- Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka -- question the tax devolution formula set by the Finance Commission, which allegedly punishes the southern states for their successful implementation of population control measures.

Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka protest in Delhi against Centre

Legislators from Kerala and Tamil Nadu staged protests in Delhi on Thursday against the alleged discrimination in allocation of funds by the Centre. Three Southern states, including Karnataka, have claimed "injustice" in devolution of taxes and other grants released to them.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and members of his Left Democratic Front government marched to the Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi. Vijayan said 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.

Tamil Nadu MPs of the ruling DMK and its alliance partners protested near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex. DMK legislators have demanded aid from the Centre to help Tamil Nadu rebuild after recent floods.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar led protests at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday, claiming 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, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have questioned the tax devolution formula formula itself, 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.

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

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

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.

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.


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