Hyderabad: The Minister for Finance Etela Rajender has sought steps for notifying afresh 30 of the 31 districts of the State as backward areas and wanted the Centre to extend adequate budgetary support for their development.
The Minister submitted a memorandum to the Union Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley, at the pre-budget meeting of the State Finance Ministers at New Delhi, to this effect. Indicating key areas of the State’s development that needed liberal assistance from the Centre he said by notification dated July 20, 2016, the Ministry of Finance had notified all the districts of the State, excluding Hyderabad, as backward areas under the provisions of the Income Tax and now the number of districts in the State has gone up to 31 of which 30 districts with the exception of Hyderabad should be considered for special assistance.
Rajender also wanted the Centre to consider recommendations of the NITI Aayog to release special assistance of Rs 19,205 crore for prestigious Mission Bhagiratha irrigation project. A programme of national importance being implemented at the State level to irrigate about one crore acres of land and other initiatives have been commended by a number of national and international organisations besides NITI Aayog.
Mentioning about Kaleshwaram irrigation project, the Minister said it was one of the major lift irrigation projects taken up by the new State with an estimated cost of Rs 88,000 crore and an expenditure of Rs 22,000 crore has already been incurred on the project. He brought to the notice of the Union Finance Minister that the State was facing numerous problems to raise the remaining resources to complete the project in a timely manner and requested a special assistance of Rs 10,000 crore for the project in the ensuing Union Budget 2018-19. He also highlighted the Mission Kakatiya programme carried out by the State government to rejuvenate 45,000 village tanks and sought Rs 5,000 crore for the programme over a period of three years. Rajender also clarified to the Centre that these projects were not long gestation projects as felt by the Ministry of Finance to consider financial support and reiterated that the projects would be completed within the next one and a half years.
The State government also requested the Union government to substantially increase the coverage of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to more areas under agriculture and extend the scheme to allied sectors like animal husbandry.
During the presentation Rajender also wanted the Centre to allocate Rs 900 crore (Rs 450 crore for 2017-18 and Rs 450 crore for 2018-19) under a special package for the development of backward areas in the State according to the AP Reorganisation Act from the Centre. The Minister also wanted the Centre to make adequate provisions for the establishment of an integrated steel pant, a rail coach factory, a horticulture and tribal university in the State of Telangana as per the AP Reorganisation Act.
The State government also made a few suggestions on issues concerning the national economy. He said there was also a need for simplification of tax provisions, their administration and making tax evasion difficult. Rajender said that surcharges (10 per cent on total annual income ranging from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore and 15 per cent on income exceeding of Rs 1 crore) may be merged with the basic rate.