Congress demands White Paper on Telangana's financial position

Congress demands White Paper on Telangana
Highlights

Stating that a major financial crisis was all set to hit the State, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee TPCC Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin demanded that the TRS Government release a White Paper on the States financial status

Hyderabad: Stating that a major financial crisis was all set to hit the State, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Spokesperson Syed Nizamuddin demanded that the TRS Government release a White Paper on the State's financial status.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Wednesday, Nizamuddin said that the finances of Telangana were in extremely bad shape with State Government having no clarity on how to handle the future requirement and bridge the huge gap between revenues and expenditure. In order to fulfil the electoral promises, TRS Government would need about Rs. 2.5 lakh crore per year. However, the present revenues from all sources were less than Rs. 1.5 lakh per annum. Therefore, there needs to be clarity on how this huge deficit of over Rs. 1 lakh crore would be covered, he said.

Nizamuddin said in addition to regular expenses, the spending of State Government on several major accounts will double from next financial year 2019-20. For instance, he said as against Rs. 12,000 crore allocated in 2018-19 for Rythu Bandhu scheme, the government would need Rs. 15,000 crore next year due to promise of increasing the amount from Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 per acre. Similarly, about Rs. 24,000 crore will be needed to waive off crop loans up to Rs. 1 lakh. Nearly Rs. 25,000 Crore will be needed for Pension due to doubling of pension amount for all categories of beneficiaries and also addition of new pensioners aged from 57-64 years. In 2018-19, an amount of Rs. 11,698 crore was allocated for pensions.

The TPCC Spokesperson said that the expenditure on salaries would increase from Rs. 24,581 crore in 2018-19 to at least Rs. 40,000 crore from next year as the State Government is due to announce the new PRC and fill nearly one lakh vacant posts. Due to continuous borrowing, the interest payments will also increase from Rs. 11,691 crore in 2018-19 to nearly Rs. 15,000 crore next year. About Rs. 10,000 crore will be needed for various subsidies.

Huge allocations also need to be done on Education, Health & Family Welfare, Urban & Rural Development, Housing, Irrigation and other core sectors. He said the expenditure on Revenue and Capital Account would also increase to nearly Rs. 1.25 lakh crore per year. Therefore, the overall budgetary requirement for Telangana Government from 2019-20 would be nearly Rs. 2.5 lakh crore, he said.

However, Nizamuddin pointed out the Telangana's overall revenues were far behind the estimated expenditure. As against the target of Rs. 167,859 Crore in 2018-19, the total revenue receipts, as on November 2018, were just Rs. 80,834 Crore which is just 48.16%. He said even if the revenues increase by 30% till the end of financial year, then they won't cross the Rs. 1.5 lakh crore mark. Therefore, there will be a huge gap of nearly Rs. 1 lakh crore between the expected revenues and projected expenditure. "State Government should give clarity on how it proposes to bridge this gap?" he asked.

The Congress leader said that Telangana was already in huge debts of over Rs. 2.5 lakh crore and nearly Rs. 15,000 crore were being paid as interest towards those loans. "Will the TRS Government borrow more funds to run the State? Will it increase taxes, sell off government assets or hike tariffs?" he asked.

He said it was unfortunate that even one month after elections, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao was still focussed on politics. Apparently for the first time in history that MLAs are taking oath one month after their election and a two-member Cabinet, including the CM, was running the entire State. "In the absence of a Finance Minister, the bureaucrats are preparing the budget proposals themselves. Since MLAs are yet to take oath, they could not give suggestions on the needs for their constituencies. This situation is quite pathetic and does not match the credentials of a democratic country," he said.

Nizamuddin said Since Central Govt is going for Vote on Account due to elections, State Government has no clarity on actual amount it would get as Central Grants and it is also planning to have Vote on Account instead of a regular budget. "Since CM KCR claims that Telangana is a rich and revenue surplus State, he should go ahead with a regular budget without depending upon Central Grants," he said.

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