HYDERABAD: Ahead of the Fifteenth Finance Commission’s visit to the State, some time in February or March, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday said that the Commission needed to work like a “policy making body and not be preoccupied with notions like ‘terms of reference’ (ToR)”.
“When FFC officials visit the State, they should look at things like a policy-making body. Every State has it’s own needs and they should be looked at with a different perspective,” he said.
Speaking at a meeting in Pragathi Bhavan, Rao said that the FFC’s role in present times needs to change. It shouldn’t be routine affair, he said.
“The Centre should devolve its powers to the States. Instead, it has been centralising them and does not release funds. I told the NITI Aayog at one of the meeting that Centre shouldn’t come in the way of growing States. The growth of the States should be considered as the growth of the country. Even for releasing meagre funds, a number of conditions are imposed by the Centre. It is not an ideal situation. It is unfortunate that the present devolution of funds and powers are, in fact, lowering the dignity of the States,” Chandrasekhar Rao said.
The Chief Minister directed Finance department officials to prepare a memorandum to be submitted to the FFC highlighting the requirements of the State.
Budget exercise begins
The Chief Minister also started the State Budget exercise today. He told officials that the Budget should concentrate on working out modalities and ways and means for increasing growth. For this, Rao asked the officials to identify issues that are hindering the growth of the State’s economy.
Irrigation to be top priority
Rao said irrigation is the government’s top priority. “Prepare Budget estimates for irrigation; it should be taken into consideration about the money the government spent during the last four years and is likely to spend over the next five years. This amount will add up to about `2 lakh crore,” he said.
Rao said officials that Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme could be marketed as a tourist spot as well as a pilgrimage centre. The Triveni Sangamam would be a great tourist spot, Rao said and asked the officials to accord priority to this in the next Budget.
Another priority on Rao’s list is of the fisheries and handloom sectors. Rao said that the handloom sector could attract an international market. His next priority is power. Another area of priority was modernisation of agriculture sector, starting food processing units and providing research facilities.
Rao also wanted the officials to ensure that universities are given good funding so that they may attract students from other countries as well.
On Hyderabad, Rao said, “It is one of the largest cities in the country. It needs at least 100 urban parks. Prepare a masterplan with the future in mind. Let our Budget reflect it’s importance to us.”
Training for babus, mantris
The Chief Minister also announced that after the expansion of the State Cabinet, the government would conduct a rigorous orientation cum training programme for all ministers and secretaries.
The training classes would be conducted in Administrative Staff College of India. The programme schedule among others would include acquainting the ministers with rules and regulations,
their limitations and other subjects.