Hyderabad: The pace at which BJP leaders, including responsible Union Ministers, are striking different chords while explaining Central funding to States in different places is dizzying, to say the least. For the Union Minister of State for Home, any talk about Telangana demanding its rightful share in devolution of funds is akin to displaying ‘separatist tendencies’, for his boss Amit Shah, funds given by the Centre to Tamil Nadu is the State’s rightful share, and closer home, Dubbak MLA M Raghunandan Rao says funds are generated by taxing people and does not belong to any government!
Pray, lead us out of this maze of contradictory statements and give the people an informed opinion on how devolution is worked out, whether it varies from State to State depending on its allegiance or otherwise to the BJP government and whether it is a Constitutional blasphemy to demand one’s rightful share.
It was Kishan Reddy who first walked into a major controversy on Sunday when he stated that Telangana was displaying separatist tendencies by seeking its rightful share in funds devolution and questioning the Centre on this score.
“By pointing out that it was contributing more to the Central kitty through taxes and receiving less, and questioning the Union government, the Telangana government is indulging in “Verpatu Vadam” (separatist tendency),” Kishan Reddy said at a ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by the Hyderabad Press Club here.
This clearly establishes that for the BJP, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander, given Shah’s assertion in Chennai on Saturday that the funds given to Tamil Nadu by the Centre were not merely for schemes “but the right of Tamil Nadu.”
Raghunandan Rao added a third dimension when he said in a press conference that all the funds available with the government were taxes collected from the people, and hence, it was public money. Nothing wrong in what he said, except that the people of Telangana also have a rightful share in it.
Back to Kishan Reddy, disagreeing with Telangana’s contention that the Centre was not devolving what was the right of the State in the past six years, he claimed that the Centre was following similar norms of devolution right from the tenure of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. “It was after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister that the devolution was increased from 32 per cent to 42 per cent giving more money to State governments,” he said, adding that through taxes paid by the citizens, the Centre spends money on welfare programmes, defence and other development activities.
The Union Minister, however, could not come out with any clarity on Telangana’s argument that the State contribution to the Central kitty was over Rs 2.77 lakh crore in the form of taxes, while all it had received in return was only Rs 1.40 lakh crore, save for blaming Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao.
“It is unfortunate that a responsible Chief Minister like Chandrashekhar Rao blames the Centre for not doing more for Telangana. Chief Ministers may come and go but the system of devolution remains the same. What would the TRS do if the people of Hyderabad blame the Telangana government for spending their tax money on the development of Adilabad or Khammam?” he questioned.
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