Hyderabad: Strongly condemning the cut in salaries for government employees and pensions, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President & MP Capt. N. Uttam Kumar Reddy on Wednesday demanded that the State Government pay the entire amount in two instalments on the lines of other States like Maharashtra.
Uttam Kumar Reddy, along with CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikarmarka, ex-Deputy CM Damodar Rajanarasimha, ex-PCC President V. Hanumantha Rao, AICC Spokesperson Dr. Dasoju Sravan and other leaders reviewed the Coronavirus situation in Telangana at Gandhi Bhavan on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference later, Uttam Kumar Reddy said it was strange that the Chief Minister has announced a huge salary cut after one week of lockdown which has exposed his government’s incompetence to manage State’s finance.
He said the financial crisis was the result of mismanagement by KCR Government. While no other State in the country has announced a salary cut, Telangana, which KCR’s has repeatedly described as the richest State in the country, has only announced a salary cut for employees by 50%, but also slashed the pensioners pay by half.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said it was strange that only one week of lockdown has pushed Telangana into such a huge crisis that the government was not having money to pay full salaries to its employees. He demanded that the State Government release a White Paper on Telangana’s financial condition.
He said that the Congress party has been pointing out since beginning that the TRS Government had set the wrong priorities and it was spending money for non-productive purposes which pushed the State into deep crisis.
He said Telangana had inherited debts of nearly Rs. 69,000 crore at the time of its formation on June 2, 2014. Now the debts have scaled up to nearly Rs. 3 lakh crore while the State was near bankrupt.
The TPCC Chief said that Prime Minister Narender Modi and CM KCR have directed the private companies and institutions to pay full salaries to the employees, including for the lockdown period, on time. But it is highly inappropriate that KCR himself has announced a pay-cut for the government staff and pensioners.
He said that average monthly revenues of Telangana Government were nearly Rs. 9-10,000 crore and it spends about Rs. 3400 crore on salaries and pensions.
Therefore, he said it sounds illogical when government claims that it has no money to pay full salaries just due to one-week of lockdown. He said that the Chief Minister should clarify on this. He said cut in pensioners’ amount was highly unacceptable as they are elderly persons with no alternate sources of revenues.
They required money for medicines and other needs. Therefore, cut in pensions would have a huge negative impact on their lives.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said Hyderabad was the main source of revenue in undivided Andhra Pradesh and it used to cater to the needs of 23 districts.
After bifurcation, the same source is catering to the needs of only 10 districts. He said that the State Government could have utilised its revenues in a better manner. He said there was an increase in State’s revenues, but the government was not spending it in a proper manner.
The Nalgonda MP said that the entire staff of Health Department including doctors, nurses and para-medical staff, police personnel, municipal staff, revenue department and other wings of the State Government have been working additionally compared to normal days to beat the Coronavirus.
They are risking their lives to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. “Will it be appropriate for the government to cut their salaries at this crucial juncture?” he asked.
He pointed out that the Chief Minister, in his speech in Assembly during budget session, had assured that the government would spend even Rs. 10,000 crore if required to deal with the Coronavirus situation.
However, after one-week of lockdown, the Chief Minister has announced cut in salaries citing economic slowdown. He demanded that the State Government pay full salaries at least in two instalments as it was being done by Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh Governments.
Uttam Kumar Reddy also condemned the TRS Government for calling tenders of nearly Rs. 20,000 crore for Kaleshwaram Project.
He said what was the need to call for those tenders during an health emergency and when entire focus should be on dealing with the epidemic. He also asked as to how the State Government would fund those tenders when it was not in a position to pay full salaries to its staff.
CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka said that the State Government so far did not spend a huge amount to control the spread of Coronavirus or its treatment. (INN)