TS: Unrealistic and misleading budget, says Congress

Hyderabad: Former Minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir has described the budget for the financial year 2020-21, presented by Finance Minister T. Harish Rao in Assembly on Sunday, as completely unrealistic, fictitious and imaginary.

He was addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan along with senior leaders including MLA Seethakka, former union minister Balram Naik, ex-MPs Mallu Ravi, T. Rajaiah and Konda Vishveshwar Reddy, ex-MLA T. Rammohan and other leaders.

Shabbir Ali said there was an increase by a whopping Rs. 40,762 crore in the budget compared to the revised budget for the year 2019-20. He said Rs. 182,914 Crore budget was totally unrealistic and misleading.

He pointed out that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao presented an Vote-on-Account budget of Rs. 1,82,017 crore for 2019-20 in February 2019. Citing economic slowdown as the reason, the budget was trimmed and the Chief Minister presented a full-fledged budget in September 2019 cutting down the total estimated expenditure to Rs. 146,492 Crore. It was later revised to Rs. 1,42,152 crore.

However, the overall revenues of Telangana Govt till the end of January 2020, as per CAG, were Rs. 105,992 Cr, including loans of Rs. 26,383 Cr. This may not even reach the set target in the next two months and may stay around Rs. 1.10 lakh crore. Is it not unrealistic to have a budget of Rs. 1.82 lakh crore, when your revenues are just Rs. 1.10 lakh crore? he asked.

“How will State Govt gather additional revenues of Rs. 70,000 crore in the next one year? Will it borrow more loans or sell away properties, lands and other assets of Telangana?” he asked while ridiculing Finance Minister’s contention that the annual budget for 2020-21 has been prepared realistically.

“Finance Minister has wrongly said that the budget was not about figures written on papers but a reflection of social values. Budget is not a political speech. It is about hardcore statistics of income, revenue sources and expenditure. State Govt is spending people’s money and it has to be done in an appropriate manner. State Government must be accountable for each and every paisa of tax payers’ money which is being spent,” he said.

Furnishing figures of budgets since 2014-15, Shabbir Ali said that there was a huge gap between the estimates and actual spending by the State Government. Further, he said if the loans and borrowings component is removed, then the actual expenditure would not have exceeded even 50%.

He said that the State’s Public Debt Outstanding has increased from 20.21% of GSDP in 2017-18 to 20.74% in 2020-21. Further, the share of Borrowings and Other Liabilities in State’s revenues has increased from 15.55% in 2014-15 to 24.91% in 2019-20.

Shabbir Ali said that the TRS Government apparently derives some pleasure in misleading the people with wrong statistics and misleading data. He said it makes allocations under various heads and at the end of financial year, it spends nothing. Citing instances, he said Rs. 6,000 were allocated in the budget for 2019-20 for farm loan waiver.

This remained unspent and this year too Rs. 6,225 crore have been allocated for the purpose. Similarly, Rs. 500 crore were earmarked for Unemployment Allowance. But in this year budget, this head has been completely removed and there was no mention of unemployment or youth in the entire budget speech.

“TRS Govt has excelled in creating confusions. It first presented a Vote-on- Account budget for 2019-20 in February 2019. Then it came up with full fledged budget in September 2019 by cutting down expenditure by over 30%. Now people are confused whether to compare 2020-21 budget with Revised one or the Vote-on-Account,” he said.

The Congress leader said the Rythu Bandhu scheme was not implemented properly and many farmers were yet to receive the promised assistance. Similarly, no funds were released for double bed room houses and many projects have got delayed due to non-release of funds.

Shabbir Ali also slammed the TRS Government for slashing the budget for minorities welfare. He said Rs. 1884.43 Cr were allotted in 2018-19 and it was reduced to Rs. 1369 Cr in 2019-20 citing economic slowdown. This year, it has been confined to Rs. 1,518 Crore.

“When the State Government can increase its spending by over Rs. 40,000 crore on other Heads, then why the minorities welfare budget was slashed compared to 2018-19?” he asked.

Congress leaders condemn Revanth Reddy’s arrest

Shabbir Ali strongly condemned the arrest of TPCC Working President & MP A. Revanth Reddy for exposing the corruption of Minister K. Tarakarama Rao. He asked the State Government to clarify whether or not KTR constructed a farm house on 25 acres of lands? Whether the farm house was illegal or legal? Who approved it? When it was purchased and whether the same has been mentioned in election affidavit of 2018?

He alleged that the farm house was purchased with the ill-gotten money as commission from Mission Bhagiratha and other projects.

He said there was many other farm houses and properties purchased by the KCR family and Congress would expose their corruption. He said that the State Government should either order probe by a House Committee, judicial commission or Central Bureau of Investigation.

MLA Seethakka, ex-MPs Konda Visveshwar Reddy and Mallu Ravi also condemned the arrest of Revanth Reddy and said that the Congress party would launch massive agitation to expose the corrupt practices of KCR family.