The ‘Chalo Delhi’ protest saw the Karnataka cabinet led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at a sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday, February 7, protesting the alleged "step-motherly treatment" by the Union government towards the state in terms of fiscal policies. Siddaramaiah said that Karnataka lost over Rs 59,000 crore due to this unfair distribution, stating, "It's like the Union government is trying to kill a golden egg-laying hen."
Accusing the Union government of biased allocation of funds, Siddaramaiah said, “Uttar Pradesh gets more than Rs 2 lakh crore, but Karnataka, the second biggest contributor, is getting less than Rs 44,000 crore. This means if we pay Rs 100 tax, we get just Rs 12–13 back. Is this not injustice?” Karnataka contributed a whopping Rs 4.3 lakh crore in taxes but received a mere Rs 50,257 crore in return. But Uttar Pradesh, despite a lower GDP, received almost double that amount (Rs 2,18,816 crore).
Citing figures from recent budgets, Siddaramaiah pointed out the disparity between Karnataka's contributions to the Union budget and the allocation it received. He questioned the fairness of this distribution, especially considering the substantial increase in the Union budget in recent years. “In 2017-18, the Union government's budget was around Rs 21.46 lakh crore and Karnataka received Rs 47,900 crore. Last budget 2023-24, though the Union budget increased to over Rs 41 lakh crore, Karnataka received merely Rs 50,270 crore. Despite a big increase in the Union budget, the tax distribution to Karnataka continues to be very low. Is this not injustice?” he said.
Expressing frustration, Siddaramaiah accused the Union government of depriving Karnataka of its rightful share of taxes, resulting in significant losses for the state. He said, "Despite increasing our contribution to India's economy, we are not receiving the right compensation. We have lost more than Rs 59,000 crore to other non-deserving states. It's like the Union government is trying to kill a golden egg-laying hen."
He also criticised the absence of representation from Karnataka in the 15th Finance Commission, unlike in the previous commission.
Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said, “We are asking for our rights. We are fighting for the state. Karnataka is suffering from drought, and we have continuously requested the Union government for a special grant for drought relief. But not one rupee has been released."
He added that the protest in Jantar Mantar was not only a political movement but also a social movement against the deliberate, systematic attack on the identity of Kannadigas. He further said, “The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax was promised to be a boon but now has turned into a bane after the discontinuation of compensation in June 2022.” He said that the Karnataka government had written three letters to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking the release of special grants but hadn’t received any response.