The Telangana Chief Minister claims his agricultural policies are being emulated by other states and the Centre.
HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has launched his campaign in national politics by claiming that his policies, especially those on agriculture and farmers, were being emulated by several other states and the Central government. He made these comments by presenting a vote-on-account budget for 2019-20 to the Assembly on Friday.
“People used to mention Gujarat and Kerala as examples of development in the country, but today, it is Telangana whose model is being considered for growth, welfare and development,” said KCR in his opening parts of the budget speech which ran into close to 90 minutes. The Chief Minister specifically mentioned how his “Rythu Bandhu” scheme has been taken up by several states and the Centre.
“I, like any person from Telangana, take pride in the fact that our Rythu Bandhu is the inspiration for the BJP government’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi in its recent budget. This gives immense pleasure to me that our Rythu Bandhu is being lauded by noted economists as a sure remedy for the current agrarian crisis in the country,” KCR said.
Only a couple of days before, the Chief Minister had held a crucial TRS meeting to prepare the leaders for the coming Lok Sabha elections and set a target of winning 16 out of the 17 LS seats from Telangana, while leaving the remaining seat to ally, AIMIM’s Asaduddin Owaisi. KCR has chalked out a plan to tour all the LS seats and address around 60 meetings in the coming days.
KCR is aware that the Parliamentary elections would be a contest between the national parties and something to do with the post of the Prime Minister. So, he wants to position his TRS as a party with national significance and himself as a leader of national importance. His recent efforts to promote a federal front, too, are aimed at winning the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats.
KCR utilised another opportunity of addressing a meeting welcoming the 15th Finance Commission (FC) led by its chairman N.K. Singh to Telangana from 15 to 20 February. In his speech on issues of national importance, the Chief Minister told the FC members that there was a need to change the present pattern of funds devolution between the Centre and the states.
“There is a need to amend the Constitution to give more funds and powers to the states in tune with the changed times. At the time of the framing of the Constitution, the situation was different as the topmost priority was to keep the country united and tackle the divergent princely states and states. Then, the bias was towards the Centre in allocation of funds and powers,” KCR reminded the Finance Commission. Since then, the Centre has been intruding into powers of the states by adding more powers to itself and eroding the powers of states under the Concurrent List in the Constitution. However, now the states are better managed and showing the way to the Centre on many counts. There is a need to give more powers and funds to the states, said KCR.
The CM said that as per the estimates of the 14th Finance Commission, the Centre’s average expenditure on the state’s list has gone up from 14% to 20% and on the Concurrent List from 13% to 17%, between 2002 and2011. “This shows that the Centre has been expanding its domain instead of giving the funds to the states,” he told the finance panel members.
KCR opposed the Centre’s policy of rewarding the states which implement its flagship programmes better, instead of incentivizing their own unique schemes. He opposed the method on the ground that it won’t benefit to encourage “one- size-fits-all” approach in forcing the Central schemes which were designed without keeping in view the needs of the states.
The CM reminded the praise showered by the FC members on a clutch of schemes taken up by his government and told them that all needed higher amounts of funds from the Centre. For example, for the Kaleswaram irrigation project across Godavari River, the state needed around Rs 85,000 crore and it would be of no use if the money was given in phases. KCR again touched on national issues in his speech in the Assembly on Saturday by saying that India would become a superpower if only the states were given more funds and powers and forward looking states should be given more Central assistance.KCR reeled out statistics and claimed that Telangana was much ahead of many other states in the country.