TS developing despite Centre's hurdles: Finance Minister
Harish Rao slams the union government for reducing the State’s borrowing limit; alleges that the Central government denied the State its due share in the Finance Commission grants
Hyderabad: Telangana's Finance Minister T Harish Rao on Monday alleged that the Centre is creating hurdles in the development of the State.
Presenting the State Budget for 2023-24 in the Assembly, he said while Telangana has been achieving significant development through its own efforts, the Central government has been creating hurdles after hurdles.
He slammed the union government for reducing the State's borrowing limit and said that in order to complete the irrigation projects within the shortest time, Telangana government resorted to off-budget borrowings well within the limits of FRBM Act. "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. But the Central government unilaterally imposed a cut of Rs 15,033 crore and reduced our borrowing limits to Rs 38,937 crore. This decision of the Centre is totally unjustified and uncalled for. This kind of cuts are against the spirit of federalism and have eroded the rights of the States," he said.
Harish Rao alleged that the Centre has broken the tradition of implementing the recommendations of the Finance Commission. The 15th 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 Central government denied Telangana of its due share in the Finance Commission grants.
He said in the history of the country, no government has ignored the recommendations of the Finance Commission in such a blatant manner. He termed as totally undemocratic, the Centre's indifference in the implementation of many provisions in the Parliament enacted Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act.
Harish Rao pointed out that AP Reorganisation Act mandates 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 has ignored the interests of both the States. "Under section 94(2) of the AP Reorganization Act, the Central government shall provide funds for the development of backward areas. Though the Centre 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."
The State Finance Minister told the Assembly that Niti Aayog has recommended a grant of Rs 19,205 crore for Mission Bhagiratha and Rs 5,000 crore for Mission Kakatiya may be released by the Centre to Telangana. But the Central government has not released even one paise so far, he claimed.
"The 13th Schedule of the AP Reorganization Act has mandated the Centre to take necessary steps and to establish institutions for the sustained development of the State in the next 10 years. The Centre by its negligent attitude has not resolved many issues so far.
"Establishment of a Rail Coach Factory at Kazipet, Bayyaram Steel Plant and Girijan University have been specifically mentioned in the Reorganization Act. These mandates have not been fulfilled even after eight and a half years. In addition, the ITIR sanctioned to Telangana has been shelved."
"Another glaring instance of discrimination to Telangana is the order issued by the Union Power Ministry in August 2022. In this order, Telangana government has been directed 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, totaling to Rs 6,756.92 crore to AP Genco within 30 days. Though Telangana has been pleading with the Central government regarding dues amounting to Rs 17,828 crore payable by Andhra Pradesh to Telangana Power Utilities, the request has been ignored without any reason. Left with no option, the Telangana government had to approach the Court of Law," he added.
AP Reorganisation Act mandates 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 has ignored the interests of both the States
- T Harish Rao, Telangana's Finance Minister