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Jaitley, Prasad reject Rahul's allegations

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Ravi Shankar Prasad
Ravi Shankar Prasad

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday accused Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi for not doing his homework, and rejected his charge as baseless that the Narendra Modi government has discriminated against the nine Congress-ruled states in terms of budgetary allocations.

"Rahul Gandhi has never done his homework in the past. One had hoped he would have changed after losing power and his long break for introspection but he has continued to make false allegations and has been running away," said Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

He added the Modi government believes in cooperative federalism and has constituted NITI Aayog to replace the Planning Commission, where states had to beg in front of some "esteemed gentlemen who used to take decisions on political lines".

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley released data from the Budget as evidence of the nine states having been treated fairly. The BJP said while it's true that outlay for centrally-sponsored schemes has been reduced, this was necessary to keep the fiscal deficit in check.

"The schemes, which have their outlay reduced are those which were unproductive, having huge leakages and prone to corruption. But the reduction in outlay of centrally-sponsored schemes is marginal when compared to the increased devolution of funds," a BJP statement claimed.

The party said the total taxes and grants transferred to the states increased by Rs 2,03,192 crore for 2015-16, the reduction in transfers for centrally-sponsored schemes is only Rs 63,240 crore - a net gain of Rs 1,40,000 crore to the states. It pointed out taking on board the affected states on the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement and the PM requesting state CMs to accompany him to his foreign visits to China and Bangladesh as further evidence of cooperative federalism.

On the Fourteenth Finance Commission devolution increasing by 10 per cent from the earlier 32 per cent and the benefits to Congress-ruled states, the BJP said that Assam would gain an additional Rs 6,696 crore in 2015-16, which is an increase of 49 per cent from 2014-15; Karnataka an additional Rs 8,497 crore (increase of 48 per cent); Kerala Rs 8,912 crore (increase of 92 per cent); Uttarakhand Rs 8,274 crore (increase of 124 per cent) and Arunachal Pradesh an additional Rs 5,399 crore (increase of 278 per cent).

Jaitley said the states, in addition to the allocations announced in the Budget, would also receive an amount from the Rs 20,000 crore allotted to the NITI Aayog and Rs 15,000-crore surplus allocated to schemes such Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and Integrated Child Development Scheme as mentioned in paragraph 55 of the Finance Minister's Budget speech.

He added further amounts would also be allotted to the states for centrally-supported projects of the Railways and highways. A special provision would be made for Uttarakhand for restoration of the flood affected areas and for the Ardhkumbh.

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First Published: Wed, June 10 2015. 00:28 IST