Finance minister T. Harish Rao. (DC file photo)
Hyderabad: Finance minister T. Harish Rao slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre, listing out various instances of 'discriminations' meted out to Telangana since the formation of state in June 2014, in his two-hour long Budget speech in Legislative Assembly on Monday.
He said that instead of incentivising progressive states the Centre was trying to actively discourage them. Harish Rao said the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act were not yet fulfilled.
"As if this was not enough, whenever there is a discussion on the formation of Telangana, we hear comments that it is like ‘killing the mother for saving the baby’. These comments made by the elders at the Centre are an insult to the people of Telangana," he said.
The finance minister said the Hyderabad IT Investment Region (ITIR) project was cancelled. The Centre nine districts of the erstwhile state as backward districts but did not give the grants that were due to them.
"On the one hand, the Centre talks about cooperative federalism but on the other it acts against the spirit of federalism and is encroaching on the powers of the state," Harish Rao said. He recalled that Niti Aayog had recommended that Rs 24,205 crore be released for Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya, but "the Centre has not even released 24 paise".
The 15th Finance Commission had recommended that during 2020-21 Rs 723 crore be given to Telangana as a special grant, but this was disregarded. State specific grants of Rs 2,362 crore and sector specific grants of Rs 3,024 crore were also denied. In all, Rs 5,386 crore were denied to Telangana by the Centre, which did not extend financial assistance to tackle Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
Harish Rao said the enhanced borrowing under FRBM was linked to reforms in the power sector, and Telangana will be deprived of Rs 25,000 crore over the next five years.
The "autocratic attitude of the Centre can be understood from this," Harish Rao said. "For the sake of Rs 25,000 crore, the state has to implement reforms in the power sector which are against the farming community's interests. The government is not interested in making the farmers pay for electricity. That is not the policy of Telangana state. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao has told the Centre that such a policy would not be implemented as long as he is alive," Harish Rao added.