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Mohammed Ali Shabbir
Mohammed Ali Shabbir

Congress slams Centre for cut in Telangana’s share in union budget

Hyderabad: Accusing the BJP Government at the Centre of doing injustice with Telangana State in the Union Budget, former minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir on Sunday demanded that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao take an all party delegation to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narender Modi over State’s financial expectations with the Centre in the year 2020-21.

Shabbir Ali, in a media statement, said that the BJP Government has been neglecting Telangana ever since it came to power in 2014. He said Telangana neither benefited from any flagship scheme of Central Government nor it received any Central funding for State’s projects.

Instead, he said the Centre has drastically reduced the State’s share in Central Taxes and avoided releasing the dues. “In 2019-20 budget, Telangana was promised Rs 19,718 Crore as its share in Central taxes. In the Revised Estimates, it has been reduced to Rs 15,987 Crore.

This was a straight reduction of Rs 3,731 Crore or almost 18.9%. Further, for 2020-21 only Rs 16,726 Crore has been earmarked. The Central Government owes an explanation on why Telangana is being discriminated,” he said.

The Congress leader also blamed the TRS Government for not pressuring the Centre over fulfilment of promises made in the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act and other benefits. “Not a single project from Telangana received Central funding during the last six years.

Going by the present attitude of BJP Govt, it is most unlikely that the promises which were made with Telangana will be fulfilled. TRS Govt is equally responsible for the present situation as it failed to make effective and timely representations with the Centre.

In fact, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao focussed more on increasing the borrowing limits for Telangana than seeking direct funding from the Centre. Consequently, State Government borrowed over Rs. 2.5 lakh crore from different agencies pushing entire State into a huge debt trap while Centre washed off its hand by giving a meagre share in Central taxes,” he said.

He demanded that the State Government release a White Paper on total funds released by the Centre for Telagana since 2014 along with full details of dues from the Centre. Further, he said the list of representations made with the Centre should also be made public.

He said people of Telangana should launch a massive agitation against the BJP Government for the injustices being done with Telangana.

Shabbir Ali also slammed Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for presenting a non-realistic budget which was full of speculations than facts. He said Nirmala Sitharaman, in her budget speech, projected nominal GDP growth rate to be 10% in 2020-21.

This was contradictory to the prediction of 7% growth rate made in the Economic Survey 2019-20 report released a day earlier. Further it was did not match the estimates done by leading financial institutions including Asian Development Bank (6.5%); RBI (6.1%); IMF (6.1%); World Bank (6%) and OECD (5.9%).

This statement alone triggered panic among investors and became one of the major reasons that led the stock market to crash on the budget day. BSE was down by 987 points and NSE by almost 300 points as the budget was below expectations and the nominal GDP growth rate predicted by the Finance Minister was nowhere close to reality. Consequently, investors lost Rs. 3.46 lakh crore within hours of budget presentation, he said.

Similarly, he said the Budget Speech claimed that farmers’ income will be doubled by 2022. He pointed out that the NITI Aayog, in its report said that it took 22 years to double farmers’ income at an annual growth rate of 3.31% during 1993-1994 to 2015-16 and doubling farmers’ income between 2015-16 and 2022-23 will require an annual growth rate of 10.4% in farmers’ real income.

He said that the government has not released any data on farmers’ income growth rate after 2013 and therefore, it is it unclear exactly what the Central Government wishes to double the income from. He reminded that the BJP, in its manifesto for 2014 election, had assured farmers of 50% profits on their production cost. But in 2019, the same BJP asked farmers to wait until 2022 to have their incomes doubled.

He said that the agricultural GDP growth in 2017-18 was 5% and the year 2018-19 ended with a growth of 2.75%. Therefore, the promise of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 could not be realised under present circumstances, he said.

“Nominal GDP growth rate of 10% and doubling of farmers’ income are just another ‘jumlas’ by the Modi Government,” he said.

Shabbir Ali also condemned the BJP Government for no significant increase in the budget for Minorities Welfare. As against Rs. 4700 crore in 2019-20, this year Rs. 5,029 crore have been earmarked with an increase of just Rs. 329 crore.

However, he said nearly 71% of the budget allocated in 2019-20 has remained unspent. Therefore, he demanded that the BJP Government give an assurance on 100% utilisation of allocations made for the welfare of SC, ST, OBC, minorities and other sections. (INN)

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