Centre owes Rs 1.05L Cr to Telangana; Sitharaman lied about state's debts: Harish Rao

Harish Rao asserted that, unlike the union government which obtained loans to repay its loans, the state government spent the borrowings on capital expenditure and created assets.

By KANIZA GARARI  Published on  14 Sep 2022 2:56 AM GMT
Centre owes Rs 1.05L Cr to Telangana; Sitharaman lied about states debts: Harish Rao

Hyderabad: Finance Minister T Harish Rao said the union government owes Rs 1,05,812 crore to Telangana in the form of pending funds, grants, and compensation. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on the last day of the three-day session, he said if paid as per norms and recommendations, the state government can clear one-third of its Rs 3.29 lakh crore debt.

"Let alone clearing debts, we would not even be required to obtain loans," said Harish Rao, explaining the adverse impact of the Centre's unilateral decisions and imposing restrictions on the State to obtain loans under Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) limits. He was participating in the short discussion on "Central government dual policy in the implementation of FRBM Act – Impact on State progress" in the Assembly on Tuesday.

He offered to felicitate the BJP MLAs and MPs on behalf of the state government if they succeed in getting the dues from the Centre.

The Finance Minister said the Central government was adopting double standards in the implementation of the FRBM Act by imposing restrictions on the States, but not practicing them itself. While the 15th Finance Commission recommended constituting a high-powered inter-governmental committee comprising the Central and the State governments to review the borrowings, the union government took a unilateral decision to impose restrictions on the States borrowings without constituting the committee. Further, these restrictions are being imposed with retrospective effect.

Harish Rao stated that though Telangana was eligible to avail loans up to 4 percent of its GSDP, it had let go of 0.5 percent of loans for the sake of farmers after the Centre insisted on fixing smart meters at agricultural pump sets. The union government also ignored the 15th Finance Commission's recommendations to release Rs 6,268 crore to Telangana under various heads based on its performance.

"Through GST implementation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to increase the tax share of States from 32 percent to 42 percent. But by imposing more cess, it has reduced the tax component to the State," the Finance Minister said.

While the Central government was accruing around 22.26 percent of its revenue through cess and surcharges, the States are losing their revenue and ending up with only 29.6 percent of total revenue earned by the Centre.

Harish Rao asserted that, unlike the union government which obtained loans to repay its loans, the state government spent the borrowings on capital expenditure and created assets. "We took up irrigation projects like Kaleshwaram project, Mission Bhagiratha, Mission Kakatiya, and other programmes which in turn created assets for the State," he added. He said as per the Reserve Bank of India report, Telangana's debt rank is 23rd in the country.

In the last eight years, Telangana assumed the top position in terms of an increase in state-owned tax revenue with an 11.5 percent growth. Odisha came second with 9.7 percent, followed by Haryana with 9.2 percent growth. Similarly, Telangana's contribution to GDP increased from 4 percent to 4.9 percent in the last eight years, despite having just 2.9 percent of the nation's population. "We improved the State's wealth and distributing among the poor, unlike the BJP government which waived off the corporate loans to benefit its friends," he said. He reminded that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found fault with the union government for obtaining off-budget loans which amounted to about Rs 6 lakh in the last five-six years.

The Finance Minister also rubbished the allegations by union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other BJP leaders over the per capita debt of each citizen of the State. He stated that while the Central debts resulted in a per capita debt of Rs 1,25,679 for every individual, the Telangana State debts amounted to Rs 94,272 per capita. He accused the BJP of destroying the federal spirit to achieve its motto of "Weaker States, Stronger Centre".

To sum up the performances of the Central and the State governments in the last eight years, Harish Rao said while the Telangana government achieved "Saaphalyam, Sankshemam, Saamarasyam" (success, welfare, and harmony), the BJP made "Viphalam, Visham and Vidvesham" (failure, poison, hatred) as its policy.

During the three-day session, Telangana Assembly passed several bills. These include:

1. The Telangana Goods and Service Tax Amendment Bill, 2022

2. The Azamabad Industrial Area Bill

3. The Telangana Municipal Laws Amendment Bill

4. The Telangana Public Employment Bill

5. The University of Forestry Telangana bill

6. The Telangana Universities Common Recruitment Board Bill

7. The Telangana Motor Vehicles Taxation Bill.

The Assembly held a short discussion on the central government's dual policy in the Implementation of the FRBM Act and its Impact on the State's Progress. It also highlighted the failure of the Central Government in fulfilling the promises made to Telangana under the AP Reorganization Act.

Speaking on the short discussions, the finance minister Harish Rao listed discrimination against Telangana.

He said that 7 new IIMs are allocated in the country in seven years, but Telangana was ignored. Likewise, 7 IITs were established but none was set up in Telangana.

He said 2 IISERs were set up in the country, but Telangana was ignored

He said 16 IITs have been established across the country, but none was set up in Telangana

He said four NIDs were set up in the country and Telangana was ignored

He said 157 medical colleges were set up in different states but none was established in Telangana!

He said Telangana was not even considered when 84 new Navodaya schools were established in the country.

Moreover, the Union Government has failed to fulfill the promises given to the people.

They said that they will bring black money from abroad but failed.

15 lakhs in the accounts of the poor... failed

Two crore jobs every year... failed

Demonetization...failed

Double the income of farmers... failed

Loans to MSMEs within an hour... failed

Houses for all deserving... failed

Make in India..... failed

Strong Lok Pal Bill.. failed

Cleansing of Ganges.Failed

Linking of rivers ...failed

Bullet train...failed

Har Ghar Jal...failed

Ministers KT Rama Rao, Sabitha Indrareddy, Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Vemula Prashanth Reddy and MLAs, and others participated in the discussion. Later, the Telangana state assembly was adjourned sine die.

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