The Congress government in Karnataka has sparked controversy by proposing a supplementary budget of ₹3,542 crore, including ₹7.44 crore for the purchase of 38 new vehicles for ministers and the Chief Minister. This request comes amidst a severe drought in the state and concerns about the government’s financial situation due to the implementation of four guarantee schemes.
The proposed budget also includes funds for vehicles for the Karnataka government’s representatives in New Delhi, the Chief Minister’s staff, and the Resident Commissioner’s office. Additionally, ₹1.15 crore is sought for five vehicles for the Resident Commissioner’s office and ₹50.5 lakh for three new vehicles for the Chief Election Commissioner’s office.
While a large portion of the supplementary budget covers Karnataka’s share of Centrally-sponsored schemes and salaries for contract workers, the proposed expenditure on vehicles has raised questions about the government’s priorities. Critics point to the ongoing drought and the need for efficient use of resources, arguing that the money could be better directed towards addressing pressing issues.
Further fueling the controversy, the supplementary estimates also include ₹12 crore for Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Additionally, ₹2.25 crore has been allocated for a recent US visit by a delegation led by Industries Minister M.B. Patil.