Grant national status to PRLIS in Budget: Bhatti to Sitharaman

Reduction in funds released under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and the current Finance Commission principle on devolution of central taxes are creating problems, the deputy CM added.
Dy CM Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during pre-Budget meeting in New Delhi on Saturday
Dy CM Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka with Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during pre-Budget meeting in New Delhi on SaturdayPhoto | Express

HYDERABAD : Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka on Saturday urged the Centre to grant national project status to the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) in the upcoming Budget.

Telangana has achieved progress in many fields and is a valuable partner to the national economy, but is facing problems that require immediate solutions, he pointed out at the pre-Budget meeting of the Central government chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at Bharat Mandap in New Delhi.

Reduction in funds released under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and the current Finance Commission principle on devolution of central taxes are creating problems, the deputy CM added. Funds for CSS should be released to states in proportion to their population without bias, he urged and pointed out, “Out of the total Rs 4,60,000 crore released under CSS in 2023–24, Telangana got only Rs 6,577 crore, i.e. 1.4% or less than its share of the population.”

The deputy CM said that in the first year of formation of the state, CSS grants of Rs 495.21 crore sanctioned for Telangana were mistakenly released to Andhra by the Union government and urged this amount to be returned. 

Bhatti to Centre: What about Rs 2,250 cr Redistricting Act funds?

Vikramarka urged removal of restrictions imposed on states on utilisation of funds under MGNREGA. He also proposed a review of centrally sponsored schemes. Redundant schemes should be eliminated and new ones should be introduced, he said and added: “Rising unemployment and inequality in income distribution are among the urgent challenges that the country faces. In this Budget, new schemes should be introduced and more funds should be allocated to address these issues.”

According to Section 94(2) of the AP Redistricting Act, 2014, Rs 450 crore is to be given to the state every year for 10 years, the deputy chief minister said. But Rs 2,250 crore has not been released yet, he pointed out. In addition to releasing this amount, the Centre should extend the grant for the next five years, he urged.

Special financial assistance should be given to modernise industrial training institutes, Vikramarka added. It might be noted that the Telangana government recently announced its decision to upgrade 65 ITIs in the state.

“Steps should be taken to ensure that the share of cesses and surcharges in total tax revenue does not exceed 10%” the deputy chief minister opined and said that the net debt ceiling should be communicated to states at the time of Budget presentation, so that they could make plans to spend resources on development works.

Vikramarka said that no GST should be levied for construction of government schools. Speaking at the GST Council meeting, the deputy chief minister stressed that a waiver would enable states to allocate more resources to build additional schools, strengthening every citizen’s fundamental right to education.

He emphasised that extra neutral alcohol (ENA) should be totally exempted from GST purview. The deputy chief minister argued that the inclusion of ENA under GST would increase the tax burden on goods handled by state governments.

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