Hyderabad: Continuing the full-blown attack against Bharatiya Janta Party-led Union government, Telangana finance minister T. Harish Rao on Monday said the state is suffering from the Centre's discrimination. Mr. Rao was speaking while presenting the state budget for 2022-23.
"The state has suffered discrimination even after its formation. In the combined state, we suffered at the hands of the then rulers and now we suffer similar discrimination by the Centre," said Mr. Harish Rao in his budget speech. He said the Centre is creating hurdles in the path of progress of the state. Instead of incentivising the states that are progressing, the Centre is trying to actively discourage them. "The discrimination against Telangana started right from the day of the formation of the state. Even before the celebrations of the state's formation had ended, seven mandals of Khammam district were merged with Andhra Pradesh. In the very first days of the formation of the state, there was a strike against the undemocratic actions of the Centre," said the minister.
He added that along with the seven mandalas, Telangana also lost the lower Sileru hydroelectric project. Even the division of the High Court was dragged on for five years. The promises made in the Reorganisation Act are also not yet fulfilled, Mr. Rao said. And as if this was not enough, whenever there is a discussion on the formation of the state of Telangana, there are comments like it is like "killing the mother to save the baby," he added.
He further alleged that the ITIR project allocated to Telangana was cancelled. "This project would have led to the further development of the IT sector in the state. Lakhs of people would have got direct and indirect employment. The Centre has denied such an opportunity to the state," said Mr. Rao.
He added that the Centre has notified nine districts of the erstwhile state as backward districts. However, the grant that was supposed to be given to these districts is delayed. "On one hand the Centre talks about cooperative federalism, but on the other, it acts against the spirit of federalism and is encroaching on the powers of the state," said Mr. Rao.
'Only sweet talk, no offer of any concrete help'
He said that NITI Aayog has recommended an amount of Rs. 24,205 crore be released for Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya schemes but the Centre has not even released even 24 paise, the minister alleged.
Mr. Rao also said that as per section 94 (1) of the AP Reorganisation Act, tax incentives are to be given to attract new industries. However, no significant incentives were given. Bayyaram steel factory, Kazipet coach factory, improving the rail connectivity in the state are some of the issues that are still pending. A nominal amount of Rs. 20 crore was provided for the Tribal University. An amount of Rs. 495 crore was inadvertently released to Andhra Pradesh in 2014 under the Centrally-sponsored schemes. These monies are yet to be received. "From this we can understand the negligent attitude of the Centre. An amount of Rs. 500 crore which is due as the Centre's share towards Zaheerabad NIMZ is yet to be released," added the minister.
He added that state-specific grants of Rs. 2,362 crore and sector-specific grants of Rs. 3,024 crore was also denied. In all, a sum of Rs. 5,386 crore was denied to Telangana by the Centre. "Even in the latest Union Budget, no justice was done to Telangana. No irrigation project was given national status, no money was given to any programme. It was only sweet talk without the offer of any concrete help. Even the borrowing is now conditional," said Mr. Rao.