HYDERABAD: Displeased with the Centre for not heeding his advice to help the State raise funds amid the COVID-19 crisis, in addition to proposing the 'draconian' Electricity (Amendment) Bill, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to meet the Centre head-on. What irked KCR was the Modi dispensation’s disregard for his suggestions to help the State’s economy.
"The Centre has not taken us into its confidence and has not considered any of our suggestions to raise funds. We will, therefore, adopt a direct course of action," KCR said recently.
The CM also claimed that the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was against the interests of Telangana. "We will oppose the Bill at any cost. Its provisions are draconian. It usurps the rights of the states," he said, adding that the TRS MPs would oppose the Bill in Parliament.
Deferment of loans
"I am not happy with the attitude of the Central government. It has not responded to the State’s request for deferment of instalments payable by the government on the loans it had availed. We will do whatever it takes to get what we want," the CM said.
Earlier, KCR had written to the Prime Minister, requesting an increase in the FRBM limit. However, the Centre did not budge. "Though we are in an unprecedented crisis, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has debited Rs 2,500 crore from the State’s account towards debt service two days ago. It is almost as though they’re asking us to pay through our nose," KCR said.
He pointed out that the State received only Rs 1,600 crore revenue in April as against its targeted revenue of Rs 11,000 crore. "The broad economic policy lies with the Central government. The Centre should either consider our demands or delegate the powers to us so that we can evolve an economic policy on our own for Telangana," the CM said.
‘States’ powers in jeopardy’
Speaking about the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill, he said, "The UPA government, before demitting office, had transferred several of the states’ subjects to the Central list. The present BJP government is not only emulating it but also is going one step further. It is arrogating the states' powers to itself. This is against the federal spirit of the Constitution," KCR said.
The Chief Minister added that the powers of extending subsidy to farmers and appointing ERCs too would be taken away by the Central government once the Bill is passed in both the houses of Parliament. "The attitude of the Centre is far from satisfactory. We will wait for a while. If the Centre crosses its limits, then we will do whatever we deem fit," the CM declared.
It may be mentioned here that the TRS had supported the BJP-led Central government on several other issues keeping national interest in mind, including abrogation of Article 370.
KCR’S differences with centre on electricity (amendment) bill
|Bill's proposal||KCR’s take|
|The Bill proposed to have a single committee at national level for selection of chairperson and members of the Appellate Tribunal and all Regulatory Commissions||Appointing ERCs by the Centre is usurping the State’s privilege. The ERC is the right of the State. It is against the Federal spirit of the Constitution. We will oppose it.|
|The Distribution licensee can authorise a “Distribution sublicensee” to distribute electricity on its behalf in an area, with the permission of the State Commission||The distribution system will be privatised through the Bill. The consumers will have to pay through their nose.|
|Section 65 mandates the State government to grant subsidy to any consumer or class of consumers, But there is no corresponding provision about the treatment of subsidies in the tariff determined by the State commissions. It is proposed that State commissions determine tariff for retail sale of electricity without any subsidy under Section 65 of the Act.||The Bill is opposing subsidies and proposing to transfer the benefit to consumers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). We are giving 24-hour power to farmers. If the Centre wants us to cut it 14 hours, what can we do? The Bill also proposes to fix meters for agriculture consumers. We are giving subsidy to SC and ST domestic consumers. What is their fate? TRS will ensure that the draconian Bill is not adopted.|