Harish Rao accuses Centre of creating ‘hurdles after hurdles’ in Telangana’s development

State Finance Minister expresses strong protest at the continued indifference to the State’s requests

February 06, 2023 04:25 pm | Updated 05:18 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Telangana’s Finance Minister T. Harish Rao.

Telangana’s Finance Minister T. Harish Rao. | Photo Credit: MOHD ARIF

Finance Minister T. Harish Rao has accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP Government at the Centre of creating “hurdles after hurdles” in the development of Telangana which has been achieving significant growth through its own efforts.

The Finance Minister, who presented the State Budget for the financial year 2023-24 in the Assembly on Monday, criticised the Central Government for unilaterally imposing cuts in the borrowing limits of the State. An amount of ₹53,970 crore had been including in the current year’s Budget based on the economic performance and borrowing limits and this was approved by the Assembly.

“But the Central Government has unilaterally imposed a cut of ₹15,033 crore and reduced the borrowing limit to ₹38,937 crore. This decision of the Centre is totally unjustified and uncalled for,” he said adding the kind of cuts were against the spirit of federalism and had eroded the rights of the States.

The Central Government had also broken the tradition of implementing in toto the recommendations of the Finance Commission as could be seen from the denial of special grant of ₹723 crore and an amount of ₹171 crore towards nutrition, he alleged. This was in addition to grants amounting to ₹5,374 crore recommended by the XV Finance Commission for the period 2021-26 doing “grave injustice” to Telangana, he added.

“In the history of the country, no government has ignored the recommendations of the Finance Commission in such a blatant manner,” he said. NITI Ayog recommended that a grant of ₹19,205 crore for Mission Bhagiratha and ₹5,000 crore for Mission Kakatiya could be released by the Centre to Telangana. “But the Central Government has not released even one paise so far,” he lamented.

Mr. Harish Rao quoted the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, which mandated the Central Government 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 Central Government had ignored the interests of both the States, he said.

The same was the case with the assurances relating to setting up of a rail coach factory, bayyaram steel plant and tribal university which were specifically mentioned in the budget, but not fulfilled even after eight and a half years of the State formation. “In addition, ITIR sanctioned to the State had been shelved,” he said.

The indifference extended to inter-State river water sharing, where the undue delay on the part of the Central Government was adversely impacting the interests of the people of Telangana. “More importantly, such delay on the part of the Centre is affecting the Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigtion project and Dindi project on river Krishna. Telangana expresses its strong protest against delay running into decades in the name of tribunals,” he said.

The Minister recalled that the Union Government had inadvertently released ₹495 crore of its share of centrally sponsored schemes to Andhra Pradesh instead of Telangana. It, however, had been ignoring the repeated requests of Telangana for redressing the injustice done either deliberately or mistakenly. “Total indifference in the implementation of many provisions in the Parliament enacted AP Reorganisation Act is totally undemocratic,” Mr. Rao said.

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