Follow Us:

In Budget speech, Telangana FM harps on Centre’s indiscretion

T Harish Rao highlighted Telangana’s growth story which he wanted to spread across the country in keeping with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s national ambitions.

Statesman Web | New Delhi |

With an eye on Assembly elections due this year, Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao presented a tax-free Budget with an expenditure outlay of Rs 2.9 lakh crore. In the Budget, he prioritised welfare schemes while repeatedly slammed the Centre for allegedly creating hurdles, reducing the FRBM limit and discriminating against the state.

While the total expenditure proposed for 2023-24 in the budge was Rs2,90,396, the revenue expenditure was pegged at Rs 2,11,685 crore and the Capital expenditure proposed was Rs 37,525 crore.

The Budget speech not only highlighted Telangana’s growth story in past eight years but also repeatedly harped on the Telangana model of development which the finance minister wants to spread across the country in keeping with Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s national ambitions.

“Telangana model, which combines humanitarian approach, constructive thinking, futuristic planning and transparent administration, is getting accolades both nationally and internationally,” read the speech. And then the finance minister claimed, “There is a demand by people across the country for extending the Telangana model of development.”

He went on to add that Telangana created history by recording the highest growth rate of 11.8 per cent in per capita income between 2017-18 and 2021-22 among the southern states. The share of Telangana in GDP grew to 4.89 per cent in 2020-21 from 4.1 per cent in 2014-15.

In his Budget speech, Harish Rao complained against the Centre’s discrimination against the state time and again, dedicating an entire subhead to discuss the “grave injustices” meted out to Telangana including reducing the FRBM limit stating that “this kind of cuts are against the spirit of federalism and have eroded the rights of the states”.

The chief minister also lashed out at the Centre for failing to implement the recommendations of 15th Finance Commission and thereby denying Telangana its share of the grants of Rs 5,374.

However, he concluded saying, “Despite restrictions and discrimination by the Centre, Telangana has not compromised on the development and welfare programmes of the people.” Although the Budget steered clear of any regional sentiment, particularly against neighbouring Andhra Pradesh where BRS is branching out, the minister said, “Under the new recruitment system 95 per cent of the government jobs will be filled up by the locals.” This was a key promise from the days of Telangana agitation.

There were no new schemes, but allocations were increased for agriculture, irrigation departments and for flagship schemes like the input subsidy scheme for farmers. Among the welfare schemes, Dalit Bandhu, a flagship scheme of providing Rs 10 lakh to every Dalit family to encourage entrepreneurship saw allocation worth Rs 17,700 crore while Rs 12,000 crore was set aside for Asara pensions scheme.

BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar dismissed the Budget as an election stunt. He said not even 50 per cent of the proposed Budget gets spent every year. Congress Legislative party leader Bhatti Vikramarka too criticised the Budget saying it was an inflated one.