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Telangana CM Rao attacks Centre over stimulus package; MoS Kishan Reddy joins issue

Press Trust of India  |  Hyderabad 

A day after Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao slammed the Centre over the stimulus package and accused it of treating states like 'beggars', Union Minister G Kishan Reddy on Tuesday hit out at him saying the language used was 'objectionable'.

"I cannot use such language. I don'tknowhow to use such language.He (Rao) is reminding the Nizam (erstwhile ruler of Hyderabad state). He is impatient. His comments are uncalled for. Telangana society will not support the language the chief minister has used," Reddy said.

Referring to the earlier package announced by the Centre to fight the COVID-19, he sought to know from Rao whether or not Telangana had benefited from such measures.

Mounting a sharp attack on the Narendra Modi-led NDA government over the Rs 20 lakh crore fiscal stimulus package, Rao late Monday alleged the Centre was treating states like "beggars" and imposing "laughable" conditions for increasing borrowing limits under the FRBM Act.

"This is 'pure cheating. Betrayal. Jugglery of numbers. All gas. The Centre has reduced its own prestige," he had told a press conference here, referring to conditions linked to the increased borrowing limits for states under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.

Rao said international journals had commented whether the Union Finance Minister's aim was to revive the GDP or to reach the Rs 20 lakh crore number (the stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi).

"This is a very cruel package. It is fully in a feudal policy and dictatorial attitude. We fully condemn this. This is not what we asked for," Rao, who had supported several measures taken by the Centre so far in the fight against coronavirus, had said.

At a time when the finances of states were paralysed due to COVID-19 global pandemic, the state governments wanted funds to reach them so that they can help people in different forms, he said.

"When we asked for it, you treat states like beggars, what did the Centre do? Is this the way reforms are implemented in India?" he asked during an interaction with media after a cabinet meeting.

For example, two per cent increase under the FRBM Act (about Rs 20,000 crore in Telangana) has been given.

But, the conditions mentioned are "laughable" and "very nasty" though the loan was to be fully repaid by the state, he said.

Explaining the situation, Rao said Rs 2,500 crore each would be allowed if reforms were implemented in the power sector and in market committees as suggested by the Centre.

"Is this a package? What is this? This cannot be called a package. Very sorry.. This is not the policy to be followed in a federal system... Then what are the state governments for?" the Telangana Rashtra Samithi supremo asked and said they were also constitutional governments and not subordinates.

The CM said he felt anguished and the way the Centre was wielding control over states was against the spirit of federalism.

"Prime Minister ji said cooperative federalism. This has proved that it is totally hollow and bogus," he added.

The state, however, has already fulfilled certain conditions, he added.

Addressing media here through video conference, Kishan Reddy, said the Prime Minister brought the best practices in the world to tackle the COVID-19 after holding discussions with a cross section of people, including politicians, media houses, opposition leaders, intellectuals and heads of other nations, on the prevailing situation.

"I am asking (Rao) if it is not true that Telangana people will benefit from this Rs 20 lakh crore package. FRBM limit has been increased with an intention to see the states also grow. Devolution of funds was also increased (during NDA regime) by nine per cent. This is a daring step taken by the PM keeping in view of his earlier stint as CM (of Gujarat), he added.

Reddy, Union Minister of State for Home, said 20 crore people, including 54 lakh from Telangana, have been given Rs 500 per month through the Jan-Dhan accounts in the country during the COVID-19 lockdown.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 19 2020. 15:35 IST
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