HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhara Rao late on Tuesday night announced that the lockdown in Telangana had been extended till May 29, with relaxations in rural and municipal areas. After giving a detailed account of the decisions taken by the state cabinet after a marathon meeting at Pragati Bhavan here, the Chief Minister went on to express his displeasure at the way the Central government is handling its fiscal policy and economy during the COVID-19 and lockdown crisis time.
He alleged that the Centre did not respond to his requests for an increase in FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) limits, deferment of state loans and request for additional fiscal assistance through the 'helicopter money' concept.
In his inimitable style, he said that the economy was already on a downward trend before the corona crisis and the lockdown has only worsened the situation. “Unless the Centre takes immediate measures, our economy will suffer a severe setback. I had even explained the situation clearly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference and suggested immediate precautionary measures since the Union government is responsible for the broad fiscal policy. But there was no response till date,'' he lamented.
Against a monthly revenue of Rs 15,000 crore which includes the State-owned revenue of about Rs 11,000 crore, the Telangana state earned only Rs 1,600 crore during April. The state government requires about Rs 3,000 crore to pay salaries of the government employees and pensions of retired employees, he explained.
KCR also expressed his shock at the Centre’s decision to collect train fares from migrant labourers who wanted to go home. “The Union government was being narrow-minded in levying Rs 50 additionally from each migrant labourer which was just not right during these trying times,” he said.
The Telangana chief minister also revealed that the Telangana government paid Rs 4 crore in advance to the Indian Railways to operate special trains. “More than 40 trains are to be operated to ferry the migrants to their home states but only 11 were sent, as they could not get the permission from the other states. Once the permission is granted we will operate the other trains as well,” he said.
Talking about a new bill for electricity regulation proposed by the Centre, he voiced his strong opposition to it, alleging that it would take away the powers of the states. He said that the bill was meant to curtail state powers and that his party would prevent it from being passed in Parliament. “If this bill comes into force, the electricity subsidies will not be given and the farmers will not have the 24-hour free electricity and SC and STs will also lose the chance for free electricity. They will have to pay for electricity without subsidy and then the government has to make cash transfers to the Centre for these subsidies,” KCR said.
Through this bill, the Centre also wants to impose meters for agricultural connections and privatise the electricity supply, he alleged. Maintaining that electricity is under the concurrent list where it becomes the subject of both the Centre and the states, he alleged that the Centre now wants to snatch away the states’ power.
Stating that even the previous Congress-led UPA government at the Centre tried to seize some of the states’ powers, he said, ''the bill disrupts the spirit of federalism.''