Telangana had been hoping for several allocations from the Centre, but the state was barely mentioned in the Finance Minister’s speech.

Budget 2018 Telangana left disappointed as Centre ignores states demandsImage: Facebook
news Budget Thursday, February 01, 2018 - 18:01

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for presenting an ‘all-friendly’ Union Budget 2018-19 with the focus on agriculture, health and small businesses.

"This budget is farmer-friendly, common citizen-friendly, business environment-friendly and development-friendly," Modi said in his first reaction after Jaitley presented the Budget in the Lok Sabha in New Delhi.

However, not everyone echoed the same sentiment, especially the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Telangana had been hoping for several allocations from the Centre, but was left disappointed, as the state was barely mentioned in the Finance Minister’s speech.

How the state is doing

Addressing reporters ahead of the budget, state Finance Minister Eatala Rajender said that Telangana would continue its momentum in 2018-19.

He also pointed out that the state’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth was only on the rise each year, because of its decisions to implement mega infrastructure projects.

"While the GDP for 2016-17 was 7.1%, Telangana recorded GSDP of 10.2%. Now that the Centre estimates a GDP growth rate of 6.5-6.75% for 2017-18, our GSDP is projected at 10.5% for the corresponding period,” he said.

Rajender said that Telangana recorded a growth of 21.5% in the 2016-17 financial year, adding that the state witnessed a 17% growth in State Owned Tax Revenue, even after the introduction of the GST.

In March last year, The Telangana government presented a tax-free, revenue-surplus budget for 2017-18, proposing an expenditure of Rs 1,49,646 crore – an increase of 14.75% over the previous year.

Demands

The state government had demanded budgetary allocations for Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya, as recommended by Niti Ayog,

Besides funds for the Kaleshwaram irrigation project, there was also a request to consider granting it a 'national project' status, something which neighbouring Andhra Pradesh already has, for its Polavaram irrigation project.

There was also the long pending issue of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that is due to be set up in Telangana.

Budgetary allocations were also demanded for the Bayyaram steel plant and the Horticulture and Tribal University, in accordance with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

What was allocated

However, the Telangana government was left disappointed with the budget.

While there were no specific allocations made to Telangana, the Centre said that Rs 440.51 crore was allocated for drinking water projects, to provide safe drinking water to arsenic and fluoride affected habitations in the next four years.

Telangana was allocated Rs 75 crore for the IIT in Hyderabad and Rs 10 crore for a tribal university.

While the setting up of one each new AIIMS in Jharkhand and Gujarat was announced, no such announcement was made for Telangana.

However, the establishment of an International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography in Hyderabad by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was approved after the proposal received a cabinet nod last December.

As far as the allocations for the South Central Railways in Telangana is concerned, the proposed and pending developmental works can be found below.

Reactions

CPI State Secretary Chada Venkat Reddy said that the budget only helped large corporate companies and not the public.

"It is only talk and no action. The government has failed in waiving off farm loans, and has dealt an unjust hand to Telangana. At least some funds should have been allocated to the Kaleshwaram irrigation project. Even as far as the railways were concerned, the demand for a Kazipet railway division and establishment of a coach factory were also completely ignored," he said.

Addressing reporters in Hyderabad, Telangana TDP President L Ramana blamed the TRS-led government in the state, and accused the political party of failing to secure funds from the Centre.

Even the TRS themselves are not too satisfied with the Budget.

Speaking to media persons outside the Parliament in New Delhi, senior TRS leader and Nizamabad MP K Kavitha said, "The only positive outcome of the speech was that they promised higher MSPs to farmers. However, even there, we don't know if there are any riders. We will get a better picture after we look at the full text. If they would have implemented the same during the first Budget session of their tenure, more farmers would have benefited."

"We welcome the move in the healthcare sector of announcing worth Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation, but even that will need to be examined," she added.

However, she expressed disappointment at the overall budget, and said that it did not focus on the individual contribution of the states or allocation to the states.

"Instead of being applicable to everyone ultimately, there was an attempt to be selective in its allocation. However, the budget lacked transparency," she concluded.

Finance Minister Etela Rajender told reporters that the Budget was acceptable and in tune with the policies of the state government. However, he also cautioned that the Centre must implement certain rules and regulations with determination, so that its promises to the people can be fulfilled.

 

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