Telangana thriving despite Centre creating hurdles: Finance Minister T Harish Rao
Harish Rao said that while Telangana has been achieving significant development through its own efforts, the hurdles created by the Centre have forced the State to resort to off-budget borrowings.
Published: 07th February 2023 08:27 AM | Last Updated: 07th February 2023 08:27 AM | A+A A-
HYDERABAD: Finance Minister T Harish Rao on Monday accused the Union government of creating ‘hurdles after hurdles” in the way of Telangana’s growth and development. In his Budget speech, Harish Rao said that while Telangana has been achieving significant development through its own efforts, the hurdles created by the Union government have forced the State government to resort to off-budget borrowings well within the limits of FRBM Act in order to complete the irrigation projects within the shortest time.
“During the current year, based on our economic performance and borrowing limits, an amount of Rs 53,970 crore has been included in the Budget as borrowings. This was approved by this august House. However, the Centre unilaterally imposed a cut of Rs 15,033 crore and reduced our borrowing limits to Rs 38,937 crore,” Harish Rao said.
Rights of State eroded
He said that this decision of the Centre was totally unjustified and uncalled for. “These kinds of cuts are against the spirit of federalism and have eroded the rights of the States. The government which is currently in power at the Centre has broken the tradition of implementing, in toto, the recommendations of the Finance Commission. The Fifteenth Finance Commission recommended a special grant of Rs 723 crore to Telangana and an amount of Rs 171 crore towards nutrition to ensure that the tax devolution should not be less than the amount of devolution received by the State in 2019-20. By not accepting these recommendations, the Centre denied Telangana its share in the Finance Commission grants,” Harish Rao said.
He said that for 2021-26, the Fifteenth Finance Commission recommended grants amounting to Rs 5,374 crore to Telangana. “By denying these grants, grave injustice has been done to Telangana. In the history of the country, no government has ignored the recommendations of the Finance Commission in such a blatant manner. Section 94 (1) of the AP Reorganisation Act mandates the Centre to provide tax concessions to the successor States in order to ensure industrialisation and economic growth in the two States. By providing only nominal concessions, the Centre has ignored the interests of both the States,” he said.
“Under Section 94(2), the Centre shall provide funds for the development of backward areas. Though it is supposed to release a grant of Rs 450 crore per annum, grants for three years amounting to Rs 1,350 crore have not been released,” he said.
He recalled that NITI Aayog recommended a grant of Rs 19,205 crore for Mission Bhagiratha and Rs 5,000 crore for Mission Kakatiya to be released by the Centre to Telangana. “However, the Central government has not released even one paise so far,” the minister said.
The Thirteenth Schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act has mandated the Centre to take necessary steps and to establish institutions for the sustained development of the State in the next ten years. The Centre by its negligent attitude has not resolved many issues so far, Harish Rao said. “Establishment of a rail coach factory at Kazipet, Bayyaram steel plant and Girijan University have been specifically mentioned in the Reorganisation Act. These mandates have not been fulfilled even after eight-and-a-years. In addition, the ITIR sanctioned to Telangana has been shelved,” he said.
In accordance with Section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, the matter relating to the share of the new State of Telangana in Krishna Waters has to be referred to the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal by the Centre. Because of the undue delay on the part of the Centre, the interests of Telangana people are being adversely impacted, the finance minister said. “More importantly, such delay on the part of the Centre is affecting Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift irrigation project and Dindi project on the river Krishna,” Harish Rao said.
POWER DUES SHOCKER
Harish Rao said that another glaring instance of discrimination to Telangana is the order issued by the Ministry of Power in August, 2022 which directed the Telangana government to pay pending dues of TS DISCOMs amounting to Rs 3,441.78 crore as principal and Rs 3,315.14 crore as late payment surcharge, totalling Rs 6,756.92 crore to AP Genco within 30 days. Though Telangana has been pleading with the Centre regarding dues amounting to Rs 17,828 crore payable by AP, the request has been ignored without any reason. Left with no option, the Telangana government had to approach the Court of Law, Harish Rao said. In 2014-15, the first year of the formation of the State, the Centre inadvertently released Rs 495 crore, its share of Centrally Sponsored Schemes to AP, instead of Telangana. “The Centre has been ignoring requests of Telangana for redressing the injustice done either deliberately or mistakenly. The Union government has been indifferent in adjusting the amount credited to Andhra Pradesh account,” Harish Rao said.
NUMBER OF BPL FAMILIES UP: LEFT
Hyderabad: The number of people below the poverty line has risen by a steep 37% the Communist parties pointed out on Monday. In his reaction to the Budget, CPM State secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram expressed astonis-hment at the State devoting 18% of the Budget (Rs 22,407 crore) towards payment of outstanding interest against debts and Rs 28,480 towards loan repayment. Giving a thumbs up, CPI State secretary Kunamneni Sambasiva Rao said that this Budget was far better than the Budgets of BJP-ruled states.