KCR pushed TS into debt trap, no right to criticise Centre: Nirmala
Hyderabad: Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman strongly rebuked Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao for their criticism of the Union Budget, saying those who have pushed the Telangana state have no right to criticise the Centre and its policies.
Speaking at an event on Union Budget on Thursday, the finance minister strongly denounced the Chief Minister’s remarks in the Assembly that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of a $5 trillion economy for India was a “joke” and “silly”, asserting that the Chief Minister’s comments amount to “mocking the people of India”.
She also countered Rama Rao’s remarks that Telangana state contributed more to the Centre in the form of various taxes than it received in grants and other financial aid from the BJP government. “The target of India becoming a five trillion dollar economy has been set to motivate not only the various states in the country but also several sectors. The future economic objectives and goals were not set for the benefit of Prime Minister Modiji or myself. Every state and every person in the country is showing enthusiasm in contributing their mite to achieve this target. While one state is talking about contributing one trillion dollars to the Indian economy, another is talking about contributing 1.5 trillion dollars. But here the Chief Minister is saying this target is a joke and silly. Is it not insulting people and mocking the country,” she asked.
When the Telangana state was created in 2014, the debt burden was close to Rs 65,000 crore, but over the course of the following eight years, it has surpassed Rs 3 lakh crore, according to her. “Those who call India’s five-trillion-dollar economic target a joke, should first respond to this,” she remarked.
The Union finance minister also countered the Chief Minister’s and Rama Rao’s allegation that the Centre discriminated against Telangana state in sanctioning of medical and nursing colleges. “When we sought details from all states on the districts without medical colleges, the Telangana state government sent a list that included Karimnagar and Khammam, but these towns have medical colleges. Telangana state was denied medical colleges as a result of their negligence. Those who don’t know which district lacks medical colleges are pointing fingers at us,” Nirmala states.
On the CM’s allegation that the Centre was imposing “economic sanctions” on Telangana by restricting loans, she rebutted, "All states are regulated through Constitutional provisions on loans. It's not that one state is allowed to borrow more and one state is not allowed. Telangana wants to borrow more than it is eligible for and that is where the problem lies.”
Telangana received Rs 1,30,000 crore towards tax devolution from the Centre from 2014-23 and Rs 1,39,000 crore grants-in-aid during the same period, she
claimed. In the recent Budget 2023-24, Rs 4,428 crore was sanctioned for Telangana state for railway infrastructure and Rs 3,048 crore was sanctioned in 2022-23. Of the 51 pharma units getting financial assistance under the PLI scheme, 15 were in Telangana state, she added.
She also trashed criticism that the Centre imposed cuts on allocations for the NREGA scheme. “This scheme is demand driven. In the last eight years, we spent more than what we had originally allocated in the Budget based on demand. Additional funds were allocated in the supplementary budget. Previous governments made huge allocations in the budget but spent less,” Nirmala said.