Union Budget: All key demands of Telangana ignored

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The Union Budget 2022-23 came as a big shock for Telangana as all its demands for additional funds and new projects were ignored.

The budget speech of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also had no mention of the commitments made to the state under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.

The state had high hopes from the budget and it had demanded allocation of Rs 60,000 crore for various projects. It was, for this reason, the budget evoked an angry reaction from Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who termed it as a ‘global’ and ‘useless’ budget.

Telangana’s long-pending demand for national status to either Kaleshwaram or Palamuru-Rangareddy lift irrigation projects was again ignored by the Centre.

As per the budget estimates, Telangana will get Rs 17,165 crore during 2022-23 as its share in the central taxes. This is Rs 3,175.85 crore higher than the 2021-22 budget estimates and Rs 1,240.14 crore higher than the revised estimates.

However, there was no allocation to the state in addition to the state’s share in central taxes, funds for local bodies as per the recommendation of the Finance Commission, and allocation for centrally sponsored schemes.

With the Centre imposing a huge cut of Rs 25,000 crore on the allocation of MGNREGS across the country, the flow of funds to the state under the rural employment guarantee scheme is likely to be badly hit.

Telangana has 1.19 crore workers registered under the scheme and they are provided work for 100 days in a year with a minimum daily wage of Rs 237. With the cut in allocation, the state may be forced to cut the number of workers or workdays under the scheme. For the current financial year, the state has received Rs 3,053 crore under the central scheme.

The Centre also did not take the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission to allocate Rs 2,362 crore for state-specific grants for four years from 2022-23 into consideration. As per this recommendation, the state was expecting Rs 471 crore every year.

The state has also not received arrears towards the special assistance for the development of backward areas under the AP Reorganisation Act. For the last three years, the state government had been demanding the release of Rs 24,205 crore as per the recommendation of NITI Aayog.

Similarly, the demand to allocate funds for Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya as per the recommendation of NITI Aayog was once again ignored. Ahead of the budget, state finance minister T. Harish Rao had written to union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking Rs 5,205 crore for Mission Kakatiya, Rs 19,000 crore for Mission Bhagiratha as recommended by NITI Aayog.

Under Mission Kakatiya, the government has taken up the revival of irrigation tanks, and Mission Bhagiratha is aimed at supplying drinking water to every house by laying pipelines.

Though the Telangana government has been urging the Centre for the last seven years to fulfill the commitments made in AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, the same was ignored once again.

Under the Act, the Centre had promised a railway coach factory at Kazipet, a tribal university, and a steel factory at Bayyaram.

Telangana’s repeated demand for revival of Information Technology and Investment Region (ITIR) was once again ignored. In 2014, the then Congress-led UPA government had sanctioned ITIR for Hyderabad but after BJP-led NDA came to power, the project was shelved.

The state had also demanded the setting up of IIM, Navodaya Vidyalaya, six industrial corridors, funds for Kakatiya mega textile park, Hyderabad Pharma City, and various other urban infrastructure projects.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has been demanding that a progressive state like Telangana should be encouraged with the allocation of funds and projects. The party leaders said once again the state was given a raw deal.

Ahead of the budget, Telangana ministers wrote a series of letters to Sitharaman seeking funds and projects for the state.

Minister for industries, information technology, municipal administration, and urban development, K.T. Rama Rao, finance minister T. Harish Rao and tribal welfare minister Satyavathi Rathod wrote to Sitharaman and other union ministers seeking nearly Rs 60,000 crore to Telangana in the budget.

Rama Rao had sought Rs 7,800 crore for urban development, Rs 954 crore for textiles and handlooms, R. 14,000 crore for Hyderabad Pharma City.

State Planning Commission vice-chairman B. Vinod Kumar wrote to the Railway Minister seeking completion of pending railway projects and announcement of new railway lines for Telangana in the budget.

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