South India subsidises the North, where is the reward for development: Siddaramaiah

Prime News, National (Bengaluru), March 16:- The feeling that the more developed South India pays more taxes and gets little in return from the Centre is hardly new and is gradually spreading in the south. Politicians both in and out of power have reflected this sentiment with increasing frequency over the past few years. But for the first time, a southern Chief Minister from a ‘national’ party has said it in as many words. Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah has declared that the South is subsidising the North for its failure to rein in its population or ensure development.

“Historically, the South has been subsidizing the north. Six states south of the Vindhyas contribute more taxes and get less. For example, for every one rupee of tax contributed by Uttar Pradesh that state receives Rs 1.79. For every one rupee of tax contributed by Karnataka, the state receives Rs 0.47. While I recognize the need for correcting regional imbalances, where is the reward for development?” said Siddaramaiah in a particular`ly potent paragraph of his opinion piece, which is going viral online.

“The states of the South have nearly reached replacement levels of population growth. Yet, the population is a prominent criterion for devolution of central taxes. For how long can we keep incentivizing population growth?” read the opinion piece, published in The News Minute, a southern news-focused website.

“Relatively well-developed states like Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra contribute more to central taxes than what they get in return from the center (sic)… Schemes are designed keeping the entire country in mind and we are forced to implement them and provide our share. We need a system where states receive a larger portion of the taxes collected from our states and the share of centrally sponsored schemes must go down. The central schemes, if at all needed, need to be flexible so that we can tailor them to our needs,” said Siddaramaiah in his column.

That such comments should come from a Congress Chief Minister is a sharp departure from the crowd that usually voices this dissatisfaction – the leaders of regional parties. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).


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