Telangana loans are off budget, unachievable: Nirmala Sitharaman
Hyderabad: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that Telangana’s loans were off budget and will lead to problems in the future. She also said the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) was unfeasible.
The Union Minister was speaking during a press conference with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Bandi Sanjay Kumar in Hyderabad. Interestingly, journalists from outlets known to support Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), such as Namastey Telangana, Telangana Today and T News, were asked to leave. “Anyone can ask questions, but some channels won’t get an answer,” the BJP leader said.
Sitharaman took questions from reporters in attendance, many of whom asked for his reaction to Finance Minister Harish Rao’s statements on Friday. Responding to Rao’s statements on the amount of money the center provides for public distribution of rice, she said that central and state governments have their own shares to invest in any government program.
Previously, Sitharaman controversially demanded the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s images in front of PDS centers. TRS executives were quick to criticize her request, with Harish Rao calling it “laughable”.
Sitharaman took a stand on Saturday and said, “Previously there was no accountability. A scheme would be designed so that the Center pays 60% and the State pays 40%. The State would not pay its share and would demand more money from the Center. Now the Modi government has digitized everything and taxpayers’ money is not wasted anywhere. Can’t we ask for credit where it’s due? ” she asked.
Harish Rao had said that Telangana contributes to the nation’s revenue, but the state does not require KCR Chief Minister’s photos to be placed in other states.
In response, Sitharaman said, “Cynically turn it the way you want. 55% of Telangana’s revenue comes from Hyderabad. If a project is unveiled in Adilabad, do you publish photos of the city’s MP there? she demanded to know.
When told that the state IT minister, KTR, called her behavior “appalling” when she spoke sternly with the Kamareddy district collector because the prime minister’s flexi n wasn’t displayed in the store. “Have I been discourteous, unruly or unparliamentary at any time? I asked him to find out and let me know if he was unaware. It’s entirely my business if I choose to ask the formal questions,” the union minister said.
I made it clear that Telangana only joined Ayushman Bharat in 2021, she clarified in her previous statement that Telangana is not participating in the core program.
She said the tax collected by the central government always goes to the states. “It’s one thing to have your debt under FRBM limits, and quite another to have off-budget borrowing that you take when the revenue board of a state government public sector company takes out a loan.
“It’s out of budget. They have a provision to borrow, but it’s not in the budget. Telangana accepts that they go over the limit,” the union’s finance minister said. She also added that the debt incurred by the Kaleshwaram project was 8.25% to 10.9% and that it was an unachievable and unsustainable debt.