CM playing Favourites?
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CM playing Favourites?

Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy at a post-budget press conference asked, “What is wrong if I give a little more to the districts that voted for our party?” He was talking about Mandya, Hassan and Ramanagara districts that voted overwhelmingly for JD(S) and got special attention in his budget.

Well, favouritism is wrong in a democracy. A government has to invest tax-payers’ money where there are better returns on investment, both socially and economically and not to secure a vote-base.

Let’s see some of the projects this government has proposed for its three pet districts.

Mandya is getting Rs. 30 crore to upgrade its medial college but the 60,000 government schools across the State are getting just Rs.150 crore for repairs!

Mandya is getting Rs.50 crore to meet drinking water needs and Rs. 23 crore for mini water supply while North Karnataka is still waiting for some water.

Hassan too gets a Rs. 70 crore drinking water project, a mega dairy project costing Rs. 50 crore and a 400-bed hospital even though there already exists a 500-bed hospital! Most intriguing is that Hassan also gets Rs. 10 crore to revive an old implements manufacturing plant… keyword “revive.”

The CM’s third pet district Ramanagara is getting a 300-bed super-speciality hospital. While Kodagu, a district far from an urban centre and that gives much more revenue to the State than Ramanagara, does not even have a proper government hospital. Is this because Kodagu voted for BJP?

Apart from a Hospital, Ramanagara is set to get a children’s park at a cost of Rs. 30 crore! Why do we need this when there is already an international standard Children’s Theme Park called ‘Wonderla’ in Ramanagara itself ?!  Also Ramanagara is getting a Rs. 50 crore Film University!

Speaking of Universities, the CM has announced four new Universities in the State and they seem ridiculous.

The first one is a ‘Sports and Body Building University’! Yes, Body Building! and it’s not even an Olympic sport. And do we need a University for Sports? Instead, why can’t the government first provide proper nutrition, travel allowance and infrastructure to the sports persons and sports hostels that already exist in the State?

Second, a ‘University for Homeland Security.’ This is to train security personnel who are working for the government and private security firms. Do we need a University to train security guards? And don’t we have Police training centres for government security personnel?

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Then there is the ‘Film University’ to be set up in Ramanagara at the cost of Rs. 30 crore and  finally, the fourth University, a ‘Tourist University’ in Hampi! Why do we need a University to train tourist guides?

All the above training can be fulfilled by adding a new certificate programme at the existing Universities and Police training centres.

Our government can’t even find a Vice-Chancellor for the famed 100-year-old Mysore University and are unable to fill over 50% of the teacher vacancies in the University and they want to build more  Universities?!  How audacious.

By the way, what did Mysuru get? Silk market, a plan for chip manufacturing unit and a frozen semen distribution centre.

Oh ! And KRS is going to be turned into Disneyland at a cost of Rs. 5 crore! When the CM’s  SUV itself costs over Rs. 1.5 crore, how can he expect to build a Disneyland at just Rs. 5 crore ?!  Also our government can’t even maintain a small Bal Bhavan in our city and they want to build Disneyland ?!

There are many other ridiculous projects such as Rs. 20 crore to house artists coming from other countries! Why? Can’t they stay in hostels and hotels? Also there are crores being given to Mutts, why? They are anyway exempt from paying tax so let their devotees pay them, why should the tax-payer? Then there is Rs. 5 crore for Karnataka Bar Council to encourage “judicial activities.” What does this even mean?

Now, the centrepiece of the Budget was the loan waiver. We wonder how much of this money will actually reach the needy farmer. To begin with most of the farmers who have taken loan under Rs. 2 lakh have borrowed from a loan shark, not a bank. So who is going to help them? And more importantly, how often is the government going to keep bailing them out? If this becomes a routine, then even farmers who don’t need the money will take a loan and wait for a waiver. This is already happening.

More than loan waiver, the government needs to educate our farmers to change their crops based on the market and more importantly, the government needs to get rid of the middlemen who are the main cause for farmers not getting market price. Loan wavier is only ‘treating’ the symptom, not ‘curing’ the disease.

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With unabated migration of villagers to urban centres, what is needed is skill training and support for small scale industries which create jobs.

Now, the government has announced a “Compete with China’ programme in this budget, but before making such grand programmes let the government first take back the vacant industrial lands being hoarded by land-sharks illegally and give it to genuine industries.

While farmers are being saved, the middle class is being harassed. Petrol  may force people to use public transport, but where is the public transport that is efficient? And increase in diesel price will make other products costly and increased electricity tariff is going to hurt industries.

While the three districts — Mandya, Hassan and Ramanagara — got sweet deals and projects what did others get? Well, North Karnataka got two hospitals, a solar field and two semen distribution centres.

Then there are Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Chikkamagalur, Davanagere, Raichur, Yadgir and Bagalkot, these districts got nothing.

If one notices, the CM’s favourite districts got numerous projects that can be started quickly, which means money can be released immediately whereas the few projects that are in North Karnataka are long-term projects that will take time to even take off by which time election would have come and gone.

This step-motherly treatment is surely going to embolden the leaders in North Karnataka like A.S. Patil Nadahalli and Umesh Katti, who have been demanding separate Statehood for North Karnataka.

Now, it was the job of the Congress to remind our CM that he cannot play favourites but Congress is so desperate to stop Modi, they don’t care if Karnataka suffers.

The Congress seems to forget that the CM is securing his main vote-base and by doing so he can forever hold Congress hostage.

For now, the CM’s budget seems to indicate that he does not expect his government to last long and is preparing for the next election.

Sadly for us Mysureans, everyone has let us down… First the PM came and told us Mysuru can be made into Paris. Now, the CM says he’ll give us Disneyland. Looks like we Mysureans will forever be in a Dreamland.

e-mail: [email protected]

July 7, 2018

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “CM playing Favourites?”

  1. Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, in his maiden budget of the coalition government on Thursday, proposed to impose additional taxes on petrol, diesel, liquor, electricity and private motor vehicles to fund a Rs 34,000-crore crop loan waiver scheme.

    With additional taxes being imposed on petroleum products and electricity, almost every section of society will shell out more in the coming days.

    To be in the good books of his alliance partner the Congress, the chief minister has made a commitment that all programmes announced by his predecessor Siddaramaiah in his budget presented in February this year, will continue.

    Kumaraswamy, who also holds the Finance portfolio, increased sales tax on petrol and diesel by two percentage points. This will result in petrol prices increasing by Rs 1.14 and diesel by Rs 1.12 per litre.

    There will be a hike in power bills from next month as Kumaraswamy has increased taxation on consumption of electricity from the existing 6% to 9%. This again is across the board, affecting all categories of consumers, including domestic.

    Besides, the ride to the office on a private omnibus or cab hired by companies to ferry their employees will be costlier as the motor vehicles tax has been hiked for such vehicles. All these hikes will come into effect from August 1.

    The biggest beneficiaries of the budget are the farmers with the JD(S) keeping its pre-poll promise of crop loan waiver. A total of 44.89 lakh farmers who have availed loans from cooperative institutions and nationalised banks will benefit.

    Kumaraswamy has set a cap of Rs 2 lakh for the waiver scheme but even then it will cost the state government a whopping Rs 34,000 crore, Karnataka’s biggest so far. However the chief minister has not spelt out how he will mobilise this huge amount over the next four years.

    The beneficiaries of the loan waiver include 17.32 lakh defaulting farmers. The CM announced that the government will credit Rs 25,000 to the accounts of 27.67 lakh farmers who have already repaid their loans. The loans will be waived in one shot but the government will reimburse the banks over a period of four years.

    The chief minister will go in for huge borrowings to ensure funds for schemes announced by the previous government and for infrastructure projects. The government will end up borrowing Rs 47,137 crore this financial year, which is Rs 7,806 crore more than what Siddaramaiah had planned in February. Apart from the crop loan waiver scheme, there are no big-ticket announcements in the budget. To keep voters of Bengaluru happy, Kumaraswamy announced the construction of six interconnected elevated corridors.

    “The budget reflects the stand of the coalition government, its dreams and realities, and difficulties and challenges,” Kumaraswamy said in his speech. The total budget outlay has been fixed at Rs 2.18 lakh crore, which is Rs 9,307 crore more compared to Siddaramaiah’s February budget.

  2. theskywalker says:

    Favouritism has been at the core of Indian politics, since independence. Whether it was establishing steel plants or Indian Institute of technology, favouritism played a large role. There are other examples too, when Kannada-speaking regions of Hyderabad. Madras and Maharashtra states were annexed to Old Mysore, and the Congress leaders from the latter 2 states became powerful leaders, and gifts started flowing to their constituents. How else one would reason out, the establishment of a technical university HQ in an arid area like Belgaum? Even the “squeaky clean” Lal Bahadur Shastri was not above rewards which are pure favouritism. He blessed his staunch supporter, the MP Srinivas Mallya with a regional engineering college then in an arid, toddy-tapping Godforsaken patch called Surathkal. Nehru’s grandsons’ Lok Sabha constituency, which also became the Lok Sabha constituency of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were favoured with many projects too.
    In all of the above, the leaders in power could explain away, with cleverly constructed reasons for the above favours. What is bizarre in this round of Karnataka budget, is as you have highlighted, the expensive favours do not even stand up to cursory reasoning. One could easily surmise, given the recipient districts like Mandya and Hassan, the Gowda voters are handed these gifts. I Uttara Kannada, Raichur, Davanagere and Bagalkot have predominantly Lingayat voters, and a Gowda CM is not a fool to give them anything!
    This is 2018 Karnataka and India, after 70 years of independence, holding onto the best tenets of favouritism!!

    • skywalker says:

      Should be : “Gowda CM is not a fool to give them something!”

      • dr.m.shanthakumar says:

        i feel kumaraswamy is fully in the grip of his father devegowda – who is a king maker and as well a vulture to the state . our state politics will stop and progress when this devegowda is dead.

  3. swamy says:

    Whatever foolish thing HDK doing now is a plus for BJP. BJP hopes he make more mistakes like this.

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