As the election for the Assembly is a few months away, Telangana Finance Minister T Harish Rao has presented the Budget for 2023-24 with an outlay of ₹2,90,396 crore, with increased allocations to welfare schemes.
Presenting the Budget in the Assembly on Monday, Harish Rao pegged the revenue expenditure at ₹2,11,685 crore and capital expenditure at ₹37,525 crore.
Listing out the achievements of the State in the last eight years, he said the State’s contribution to the country’s GDP went up and the State’s per capita income increased to ₹3.17 lakh, which is 86 per cent higher than the national average.
Blaming the Centre for curbing the State’s ability to borrow money to meet its Budgetary allocations, he said the Centre imposed a cut of ₹15,033 crore, reducing the borrowing limits ₹38,937 crore.
“This decision of the Centre is totally unjustified and uncalled for. These kinds of cuts are against the spirit of federalism and have eroded the rights of the States,” he said.
The flagship Dalit Bandhu scheme, which provides financial assistance of ₹10 lakh each for Dalit entrepreneurs, gets an allocation of ₹17,700 crore, while Rythu Bandu (a scheme that provides ₹10,000 for farmers for every acre of land they own) will get ₹15,075 crore.
The government, which is targeting to bring in about 8.5 lakh hectares of land under oil palm cultivation, has allocated for ₹1,000 crore for the oil palm sector.
The other important allocations in the Budget for 2023-24 included: Industrial incentives - ₹2,930 crore; Industrial power subsidy - ₹316 crore; power subsidy - ₹12,000 crore; rice subsidy - ₹12,000 crore; farm insurance ₹1,589 crore; and farm loan waiver ₹6,385 crore.
While the agriculture sector gets ₹26,831 crore, irrigation ₹26,885 crore; and the energy department - ₹12,727 crore.
“The share of Telangana in the country’s GDP went up to 4.9 per cent in 2020-21 from 4.1 per cent in 2014-15. We are contributing 4.9 per cent to the GDP despite the fact that our share in the population is just 2.9 per cent,” he said.
Finance panel recommendations
The Finance Minister criticised the Centre for failing to implement the recommendations of the Finance Commission in toto.
“The 15th Finance Commission recommended a special grant of ₹723 crore to the State and ₹171 crore towards nutrition to ensure that the tax devolution should not be less than the amount of devolution received by the State in 2019-20,” he pointed out.
“By not accepting these recommendations, the Centre denied Telangana of its due share in the Finance Commission grants,” he said.
He also criticised the Centre for providing tax concessions as promised in the AP Reorganisation Act to promote industrialisation and economic growth.
“Though the Centre is supposed to release a grant of ₹450 crore a year, grants for three years amounting to ₹1,350 crore have not been released,” he alleged.
He said the State has achieved a growth of 7.4 per cent in agriculture as against the country’s growth of 4 per cent as the cultivable area increased to 2.15 crore acres from 1.31 crore acres at the time of the State’s formation.