Hyderabad: Finance Minister T Harish Rao on Monday heaped praise on Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, crediting him with taking Telangana to the preeminent position it had achieved since State formation in 2014. Presenting the Budget for 2022-23 in the State Assembly here, the Minister said: “It is the quality of leadership which ensures that […]
Hyderabad: Finance Minister T Harish Rao on Monday heaped praise on Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, crediting him with taking Telangana to the preeminent position it had achieved since State formation in 2014.
Presenting the Budget for 2022-23 in the State Assembly here, the Minister said: “It is the quality of leadership which ensures that the money is spent meaningfully. The question is not how much money has come into the treasury but whether it has made a difference to the lives of the people or not. The Budget is not a mere aggregation of numbers but is an expression of people’s hopes and aspirations.”
Stating that the wealth of the State had increased significantly due to fiscal prudence, non-corrupt practices and due to implementation of transparent policies such as TS – iPASS, TSbPASS, Dharani and direct money transfer through digital means, Harish Rao pointed out that the State faced many challenges in its journey. “Difficult problems were resolved. With the support of the people, Telangana has become a model State,” he said.
Pointing out that Chandrashekhar Rao had, in the very first Assembly, observed that “Telangana needs to reinvent and reorient itself,” Harish Rao said everything had to be defined anew in the newly formed State. “Everything had to be built from scratch. People’s expectations had to be converted into plans and programmes which were relevant to Telangana,” he said.
Asserting that the TRS government had adopted a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, he said there was absolutely no scope for corruption. There is transparency everywhere. A lot of belt-tightenings was resorted to so that the State moves forward. The proof is that the benefits of every scheme are directly reaching into the bank accounts of the people,” he said.
“Today, Telangana has moved from a drought-prone State to one where irrigation facilities are abundant. It moved from regular power shortages to a State where power supply is given 24×7. What Telangana does today, the country will follow tomorrow, and this is the truth,” he said, adding that the happenings in the last seven and a half years is a testament to that.
The Minister said that Telangana also faced financial crisis just as others in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. “There was, however, no financial assistance from the Centre. Even the money which is customarily due was also not given. The enhanced borrowing under FRBM has been linked to reforms in the power sector, depriving Telangana of Rs. 25,000 crore over the next five years at the rate of Rs. 5,000 crores per annum,” he said, adding that the autocratic attitude of the Centre can be understood from this fact.
He went on to explain that for the sake of these Rs 25,000 crore, the State will have to implement a series of reforms in the power sector which are particularly against the farming community’s interests. “The State government is not interested in making the farmers pay for the power being provided to them. That is not the policy of Telangana State. The Chief Minister has informed the Centre that such a policy would not be implemented as long as he is alive. For the sake of four crore people of Telangana, the government is willing to forego Rs 25,000 crore rupees,” he said, adding that this was due to the fact that the State government was committed to the welfare of farmers and the leader himself being a son of a farmer.
Listing out the various promises that the Centre failed to honour, Harish Rao pointed out that 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 any concrete help,” he said.
“As per the devolution formula recommended by the Finance Commission, the States are supposed to get 41 per cent of the divisible pool. However, the Centre, through the imposition of various cesses, is constantly reducing the size of the divisible pool. The cesses that are imposed by the Centre are not a part of the divisible pool. The States are receiving only 29.6 per cent instead of 41 per cent resulting in a shortfall of 11.4 per cent,” the Minister said.
Stating that Telangana had become a financially strong economy despite all the adversities and limitations, Harish Rao asserted that this was due to the visionary leadership of Chandrashekhar Rao, a non-corrupt administration, and effective fiscal policies. “In the 75 years of the history of independent India, Telangana is the only State which has disbursed more than Rs 50,000 crore as investment assistance to farmers, implementing a free life insurance scheme of Rs 5 lakh for all farmers, providing financial assistance to 10 lakh poor women for their marriage, providing KCR kits to 10 lakh mothers, disbursed Rs 46,650 crore as Aasara pensions and providing purified drinking water to every household in the State. It is also the only State which provides 24×7 quality power to agriculture and to all other sectors. It is the only State which has provided a tractor, a trolley, a dump yard and a crematorium for every gram panchayat in the State,” he said.
“This is the truth borne out by the seven years history of the State. This is the truth which cannot be contradicted by anyone,” he said.