The Telangana government has written to the Union government to urge for the immediate release of Rs 1,433.95 crore in dues for urban development under the 15th Finance Commission. The dues includes Rs 468 crore towards the first installment of grant to million-plus cities, Rs 315.75 crore towards balance second installment of grant to non-million-plus cities and Rs 650.20 crore pending statutory grants recommended by the 14th Finance Commission.
In a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister KT Rama Rao said that "the non-release of statutorily mandated Finance Commission grants and COVID-induced shortfall in the state's own revenues, have handicapped the state no end".
KTR brought to her notice that the 15th Finance Commission recommended grants amounting to Rs 468 crore to million-plus city (Hyderabad population) and Rs 421 crore to non-million-plus cities in the state, which were to be released in two equal installments in June and October 2020.
"While the grant to million-plus cities is yet to be released, the grant to non-million-plus cities has been split into four installments in contravention of the recommendation of the Finance Commission, and the first installment amounting to Rs 105.25 crore has been released on May 19, 2020," he wrote.
KTR said that Telangana was also denied its rightful entitlement in grants to urban local bodies, as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission (2015-20).
"While the Commission recommended unconditional basic grant of Rs 2,711.12 crore, the amount released by the Centre was Rs 2,502.90 crore (a shortfall of Rs 208.22 crore). Though the state had fulfilled all the conditions attached to the performance grant of Rs 677.79 crore, the amount released was only Rs 235.81 crore (shortfall of Rs 441.98 crore). Thus, Telangana was denied Rs 650.20 crore from statutory grant to local bodies, though the full amount was released to some other states," read the letter.
The state minister pointed out to Sitharaman that states are in the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and reviving economic activity.
"Telangana is in the forefront of improving civic and social infrastructure and sanitation facilities in urban areas. Additional budget provisions matching the central Finance Commission grants made in the state Budget 2020-21, pending report of the first State Finance Commission, clearly demonstrates the commitment of the state," he said.