Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that he won't be attending the 7th Governing council meeting of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog scheduled to be held on Sunday, August 7. The Chief Minister wrote that he was staying away from the meeting as a mark of protest against the union government's discrimination against the state.
He accused the union government of not treating state governments as equal partners in the development of the country. "NITI AYOG was started with an objective of cooperative federalism recognizing that strong States make a strong nation. But after seven years of its functioning, it is now clear that this explicit objective was observed more in breach. The Centre's actions show that the initiative has gone astray as States are not included as equal partners in the national development agenda," he wrote.
He also expressed dissatisfaction over the union government ignoring the recommendations made by the planning body. "The Telangana government had completed both the schemes on its own ensuring supply of potable water to every household under Mission Bhagiratha project and repairing and restoring all the minor irrigation tanks in the State under Mission Kakatiya, whose benefits have greatly benefited the people as ground water levels increased dramatically, providing a fillip to agriculture sector and in general reviving the rural economy. These examples are sufficient to say that the institution of NITI Ayog is rendered useless," he added.
He accused the union government of taking credit for the achievements of the state government. "The Centre had unabashedly issued statements taking credit for the achievements of Telangana by claiming that Telangana is one of the states which provides drinking water to every household under the banner of Jal Jeevan Mission, a central scheme."
Drawing attention to the fact that the states rely on open market borrowings raised in conformity with the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act for their developmental needs, he wrote, "The Centre has included the borrowings of State Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) for their capital needs to be treated as state government borrowings."
In his letter, the CM referred to the union government as a silent spectator to numerous grave situations in the nation. "The irresponsible utterances of some leaders in high positions on use of bulldozers, encounter killings, 80:20 ratios and references with religious undertones are disrupting the communal harmony and social fabric of the nation, besides inviting international criticism. Yet the Union Government does not take any action to control the situation."
Criticising the union government for the one-sided decision to bring farm laws, KCR said, "Such ill-conceived decisions to meddle with laws dealing with agriculture and a lopsided procurement policy for agricultural produce have led to an overall distress in the farm sector pushing the farming community into a state of despair with an insecure future."
PM Modi has convened the first in-person meeting of the governing council after a gap of more than two years, with Chief Ministers of all states, who are members of the apex body. Crop diversification and reaching oilseed and pulse self-sufficiency are on the agenda for the meeting, along with urban governance and implementation of the National Education Policy.
The Telangana government and union government have been at loggerheads over several issues. In April, the Chief Minister had staged a dharna in New Delhi against the union government’s paddy procurement policy. It escalated after the Union Finance Ministry implemented restrictions on the state's open market borrowings, citing problems with financial management.
Watch this week on Let Me Explain: What the Enjoy Enjaami controversy is about