Congress promises rs 1 lakh cr investment to make bengaluru india’s second capital – gas mileage comparison


On the eve of the Karnataka assembly elections, the Congress appears keen to take its fight for cooperative federalism to its logical end. After sparring with the Centre over devolution of funds and greater autonomy to states, the Congress has now not only proposed that Bengaluru be named the second capital of India, but has also committed to invest Rs 1 lakh crore on upgrading the city’s infrastructure.

The idea was first mooted in January this year when Karnataka industries minister RV Deshpande wrote to prime minister Narendra Modi seeking the second capital status for Bengaluru. Stating that the present "distance administrative system" does not do any justice to the South, the minister argued: "A county of the size and scale of India cannot be managed from one location. A second capital will help in deeper integration of the Southern states into the overall scheme of development and create a decentralised system."

Seeking the establishment of the Supreme Court and the Union Public Service Commission, and holding the winter session of Parliament in Bengaluru as the initial steps, Deshpande went on to list out various reasons for why Bengaluru fits the bill the best. "As a cosmopolitan city, it houses people of different cultures and is probably the only metro in the country where you can manage by knowing any one of the Indian languages."

The Congress’ supplementary manifesto released for the Karnataka elections lists a bunch of measures that will be undertaken to make "Bengaluru eligible for consideration as the second capital". Besides a massive overhaul of infrastructure, the proposals include splitting the mammoth city corporation into smaller units to make civic administration manageable, installation of solar panels on rooftops of all government buildings, extending metro services to adjoining districts, building concrete roads across the city, and augmenting drinking water supply.

In a recent update posted on social media, Siddaramaiah said: "The Southern states contribute higher taxes and receive a lesser share in the form of devolution from the Centre. For every rupee of tax contributed by Uttar Pradesh it receives Rs 1.79 in return, while Karnataka gets back only Rs 0.47. While I recognise the need for correcting regional imbalances, where is the reward for development?"

Calling for a greater say for states in the country’s economic policies, Siddaramaiah added: "The economic policy that affects India’s commerce with the rest of the world also impacts the states. Yet, the states do not have a say in these policies. For instance, the South Asia Free Trade Agreement which facilitated import of cheap pepper from Vietnam adversely affected the farmers of Karnataka and Kerala. There is a need for a standing mechanism on the lines of the GST council to discuss trade policy and agrarian concerns."

The issue of fund allocation and utilisation has hoarded a lot of attention during the ongoing election campaign in Karnataka, with BJP chief Amit Shah repeatedly accusing the Congress government of pilferage and the latter stoutly denying the charge.