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Akbaruddin Owaisi in Assembly
Akbaruddin Owaisi in Assembly

Akbaruddin Owaisi raises concern over rising debts

Hyderabad: MIM floor leader Akbaruddin Owaisi said that the soaring borrowings by the Telangana Government might lead to mounting debt burden on the State and its people.

Participating in the debate on annual budget for 2017-18 in Legislative Assembly on Friday, the MIM leader said that the Telangana State inherited a debt of Rs 72,415 crores from the united AP consequent to bifurcation in June 2014.

This rose to Rs 83,846 crores or 16 percent of the GSDP in 2014-15 and Rs 93,115 crores or 16 percent of the GSDP in 2015-16. This is expected to rise further to Rs 114,814 crores, or 17.55 percent of GSDP at the end of fiscal year 2016-17 and to Rs 1,40,523 crores or 18.51 percent by March 31st 2018. “Within four years, the debt burden of the State is poised to get doubled.

This is certainly not beneficial to the fiscal health of the State. Rising debt burden also means higher outgo on the debt servicing, including interest and repayment of principal amounts.

I would suggest that the State may try to swap the high-interest debt with low-interest debt when the banks are flush with funds in the wake of demonetisation and the interest rates have been particularly low,” he said.

Akbaruddin Owaisi said that while the per capita income of the State at current prices has increased from Rs 1,25,832 in 2014-15 and 1,40,683 in 2015-16 to Rs 1,58,360 during 2016-17, the per capita debt has also soared from Rs 20,640 in 2014-15 and Rs 22,757 in 2015-16 to Rs 27,789 in 2016-17.

As the per capita income of the State will rise in the next fiscal year, the per capita debt burden would also increase substantially. This does not augur well for the State, he said.

However, the MIM leader praised the performance of State Government and also lauded the allocations that it made for various sectors in the budget for 2017-18.

Akbaruddin Owaisi said that the GHMC has sought budgetary assistance of Rs 2,011 crores in 2017-18, including Rs 490 crores towards property tax on government properties and share in profession tax, entertainment tax, stamps duty and registration fees etc, Rs 350 crores for SC/ST Sub-Plan, Rs 500 crores for white topping of roads, Rs 353 crores for 2 BHK housing, Rs 300 crores nala widening and repairs, Rs 25 crore for Haritha Haram.

However, he said that the the allocation of Rs 1,000 crores for the GHMC in the State budget is only 50% of what the GHMC wanted.

The allocation includes Rs 377 crores for Musi beautification, Rs 377 crores for white topping of roads, Rs 155 crores for SC ST Sub-Plan, Rs 67 crores towards property tax and other taxes and Rs 24 crores towards miscellaneous compensations. No allocation is made for nala works, 2 BHK housing scheme and Haritha Haram programme, he said.

The MIM leader also pointed out that the State Government has not been releasing the allocated funds to the GHMC in the last three years. In 2014-15, the government had allocated Rs 376 crores for GHMC in the State budget but released only Rs 259 crores.

In 2015-16, Rs 58 crores was released against budgetary allocation of Rs 378 crores. In the current year, 2016-17, only Rs 69 crores was provided for GHMC in the State budget but nothing has been released so far, with hardly a fortnight left for closure of the financial year.

“The GHMC had achieved distinction with its highest ever collections of property tax in demonetised currency notes among all the municipal corporations in the country in November 2016. The collections worked out to Rs 206 crores and the money was deposited with the Government.

However, I am told that no funds have been released to the GHMC in lieu of the demonetised notes deposited with the Government. This is unfair,” he said.

Akbaruddin Owaisi recalled that in October 2006, the then chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy had announced Rs 2,000 crores package for the Old City of Hyderabad. However, all the works under the package were not taken up.

Even those works which were initiated were stopped half-way due to non-release of funds by the then Congress government in the united AP. “I would urge the government to complete these unfinished works at the earliest,” he demanded.

He also complained that despite adequate availability of power in the State, there were unscheduled power cuts in the Old City and other parts of Hyderabad due to the inadequate number of sub-stations, transformers and transmission and supply lines.

“As the summer has peaked early, the demand for power is poised to go up substantially in the coming weeks. I would request the Government to direct the Discoms to ensure uninterrupted 24/7 water supply to the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad,” he demanded.

Akbaruddin Owaisi also urged the Chief Minister Sahab to declare the birth anniversary of Mahatma Jyothiba Phule on April 11 as a State holiday on the lines of the state holidays on the birth anniversaries of Babu Jagjivan Ram and Dr B R Ambedkar on April 5 and 14 respectively every year.

He also urged the government to set up a statue of Mahatma Phule as the city already has the statues of Babu Jagjivan Ram and Dr B R Ambedkar. He also asked Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao to fix up a fresh date to take an all-party delegation to the Prime Minister to request him to bring a central legislation on the categorisation of Scheduled Castes into A, B,C,D categories.

He said that the appointment fixed on 6th February was cancelled by the PMO at the last-minute.

The MIM leader also requested the Chief Minister to increase the budget allocation for minorities’ welfare to Rs. 1,500 crore. Responding to this request, KCR announced that the allocation would be increased to Rs. 1500 crore in the revised estimates for 2017-18. (INN)

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