TRS, Congress in war of words over public debt

Speaking on the budget for fiscal 19-20, Congress leader M Bhatti Vikramarka alleged Telangana has been made bankrupt during the TRS regime.

Hyderabad: The opposition Congress and ruling TRS were engaged in a war of words in the Telangana Assembly over public debt and other issues on Saturday.

Speaking during the debate on the budget for fiscal 2019-20, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka alleged Telangana, which was a formed as a surplus state (in 2014) has been made bankrupt during the TRS regime.

"I have no hesitation in saying that the state, which came into existence as a surplus state, has been turned into a bankrupt government in about six years. The budget has been presented accordingly," Vikramarka said.

Countering this, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao asked where is the question of having a budget (as stated by Vikramarka) when the state itself did not exist.

The state is in a much better position compared to others, he added. Rao on Monday last presented a trimmed Rs 1,46,492.30 crore budget for fiscal 2019-20, saying the state government had to revise the budgetary estimates due to economic slowdown and decline in revenues.

On Vikramarka's comments that the budget has seen a cut of Rs 36,000 crore against the proposals in the vote-on-account budget presented earlier this year, Rao said the government itself had stated that it had to trim the proposed expenditure.

"Is it not true that approximately Rs three lakh crore debt burden has fallen on the state?" Vikramarka said.

Rao asked would the Congress leader prove it. "Does this state have Rs three lakh crore debt? Will you prove that?" he said.

The guarantees given by the state government cannot be considered to be debt, he said.

Vikramarka quoted the public debt outstanding to be Rs over two lakh crore. Rao said the state government would not hesitate to take loan of another Rs 20,000 crore, if necessary, as per the conditions of FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) and within the limits set by the Centre.

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