Despite the twin challenges — deliberate discrimination from the Centre and the devastating pandemic — Telangana has put up a stellar performance that sets an example worth emulating by other States. The 2022-23 Budget, presented by Finance Minister T Harish Rao, bears testimony to the resilience of the State in the face of adversities, both […]
Despite the twin challenges — deliberate discrimination from the Centre and the devastating pandemic — Telangana has put up a stellar performance that sets an example worth emulating by other States. The 2022-23 Budget, presented by Finance Minister T Harish Rao, bears testimony to the resilience of the State in the face of adversities, both natural and manmade. With an ambitious outlay of Rs 2.56 lakh crore, about Rs 26,000 crore higher than the previous year, the Budget reflects a seamless blending of welfare with development and highlights a long-term vision and an unflinching commitment for the welfare of the disadvantaged sections of society. Welfare remains the major focus of the Budget that also packs several new initiatives, including the proposed university for women and a new medical college in each district. A whopping Rs 17,700 crore allocation for ‘Dalit Bandhu’, meant to provide financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh per each SC family for self-employment, shows the policy direction of the government. Similarly, top priority has been given to the agriculture sector and other flagship welfare programmes like ‘Rythu Bandhu’, Aasara pensions and double bedroom houses for the poor. The fact that Telangana withstood the havoc of the pandemic is a testimony to the strong foundations laid since the formation of the State for a sustained and resilient economy. Improvements in power supply, increase in irrigated area as a result of new projects and implementation of many development and welfare schemes helped in improving the growth rate. During the last seven years, Telangana is the only State in the country whose contribution to the national economy has grown by almost 1 percentage point.
Despite being a high performing State whose welfare initiatives have become a role model for others, Telangana got a raw deal from the NDA government in terms of Central fund allocations. However, the Budget size has been pegged at an ambitious level despite a reduction in share in Central taxes and grants. Apparently guided by political motives, the Centre has been creating hurdles in the path of Telangana’s progress, be it cancellation of key projects like ITIR (Information Technology Investment Region) and the neglect of long-pending proposals like Bayyaram steel factory and Kazipet coach factory. Ironically, Telangana is made to suffer because of the discriminatory and politically biased attitude of the Centre at a time when more and more States are emulating development initiatives of the country’s youngest State. Though NITI Aayog had recommended that an amount of Rs 24,205 crore be released for ‘Mission Bhagiratha’ and ‘Mission Kakatiya’ schemes, the Centre has totally neglected it. As per the AP Reorganisation Act, tax incentives are to be given to attract new industries. However, no significant incentives were given. The Centre also rejected the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendation that Rs 723 crore be given to Telangana as a special grant.
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