Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday said the State government was not interested in wasting public money on programmes that are not beneficial to people.
The Chief Minister made this declaration in his budget speech which also dwelled on the issue of funds released by the Centre under Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). The BJP has been consistently seeking to paint a picture that the State government was not implementing any of the CSS or that it was misusing the funds released for the purpose.
Seeking to clarify the State government’s stand on CSS, Chandrashekhar Rao said while considering the Central schemes, the State government took decisions only after understanding the schemes fully.
“The Central schemes which are helpful to people are being implemented in the State, but the State government is not interested in wasting public money on programmes which are not beneficial to people. For instance, the State government has implemented Aarogya Sri to extend medical and health services to the poor. The government is spending Rs 1,336 crore per annum on Aarogya Sri, benefitting 85.34 lakh families in the State,” he said, and observed that through the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, it was possible for the State to provide medical benefits only to the extent of Rs 250 crore per annum that would benefit 26 lakh families only.
Through Aarogya Sri, the government has been extending services pertaining to organ transplants free of cost, but the same is not available under Ayushman Bharat Scheme, Chandrashekhar Rao said. “Since Aarogya Sri is far more beneficial than Ayushman Bharat in several ways, we decided not to implement the Central scheme. Let me make it clear that the State government will examine thoroughly all the Central schemes and will implement schemes that are beneficial to people,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the Centre had, through various taxes, collected funds to the tune of Rs 2,72,926 crore through taxes in the past five years from Telangana. “Like all States in the country, we have also received funds to the extent of Rs 31,802 crore from the Centre for the implementation of Central schemes in the State,” he said.
The Chief Minister pointed out that as per provisions of the State Reorganisation Act, the Centre should provided grants for the development of backward areas in the State. “But in the last five years, the Centre has not given the grant of Rs 450 crores in one year,” he said.
Quoting the CAG report, the Chief Minister said the State government had spent Rs 5,37,373 crore on welfare and development in the past five years. “Of this, the Centre’s contribution to implement its schemes was a mere Rs 31,802 crore. The Centre has not paid even a rupee more than this and the members should take note of this,” he added.
Agriculture & allied sectors
The State government, in its Budget speech, made it clear that it is committed to allocating more funds for agriculture and allied sectors to improve the lives of farmers. Even as increasing acreage in the State is coming under the umbrella of assured irrigation thanks to the speedy completion of various irrigation projects as well as filling up of village tanks, the allocation for agriculture and allied sectors has witnessed an improvement over the last year. As mentioned in the Budget speech, the government’s progressive policies made it possible for the State to achieve an average of 6.3 per cent growth rate in the last five years. Compared to the 1.8 per cent growth rate in Telangana in 2013-14, in 2018-19, this figure was at 8.1 per cent.
Allocations in the budget for some sectors, such as irrigation, belie the plans of the government and may, at first sight, appear to have been pruned. While one of the reasons is the near completion of Kaleshwaram project, among others are the decisions to related to the use of extra-budgetary funds for the construction of major irrigation projects. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao made it clear, in the budget speech, that construction works on Kaleshwaram, Palamurur-Ranga Reddy, Sitarama, Devadula and other such major projects would continue without any interruption. This should assist in putting to rest doubts some may have whether the government, which said the current economic slowdown was hurting nearly all sectors, is determined to power ahead and complete all irrigation projects in the State.