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Increase allocations for farm, energy sectors: Shabbir Ali

Hyderabad, March 16 (INN): Deputy CLP leader in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir demanded that the State Government increase allocations for agriculture and energy sectors while ensuring that the unspent amount meant for welfare is carried forward in the next financial year.

Participating in the debate on State Budget for the financial year 2015-16 in Legislative Council on Monday, Shabbir Ali accused the State Government of ignoring key sectors in the budget. Citing instance, he said as against the allocation of Rs 8,511 crore made last year, this time the allocation has been reduced to Rs 8,432 crore. He said that the government has decreased the allocation by 1.17% of the total budget for agriculture and allied sectors while ignoring the fact that the sector has registered a negative growth of 10.3% in 2014-15. He said that agriculture alone registered a negative growth of 21.30% while the areas under foodgrains came down by 19% while oilseeds came down by almost 11%.

Shabbir Ali also criticized the government for ignoring the families of farmers who committed suicide. Referring to the claims of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao of Telangana being a revenue surplus State, he said in that case, the State Government should waive off remaining 75% of crop loans waiver amount.

Speaking about energy sector, the Congress MLC said that the government proposes to enhance the generating capacity to 23,675 MW by 2018 from present 4,320 MW. However, he said that Finance Minister Eatala Rajender has allocated a mere Rs 1,372 crore in Plan budget for the energy sector. “An investment of Rs 6 crore is required to generate one Mega Watt of power. At this rate, to add 19,355 MW power in the next three years, we would need Rs 116,130 crore or an amount equivalent to our one annual budget. Even if we mobilise 80% of amounts through loans, we would need to raise at least 20% of the total investments as our equity. It comes to Rs 23,226 crore or say about Rs 25,000 crore. However, the government has allocated just Rs 1,372 crore under plan which includes spending on other initiatives,” he said.

Similarly, various thermal power plants across the Telangana State, including 600 MW at Bhopalpalli by TSGENCO, 1200 MW at Jeypore by Singareni, 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant at Ramagundem, will need additional coal of 70 million tonnes. “The State Government is fully aware that the Singareni was unable to achieve targeted production for the last two years. As against the target of 53 million tonnes, the SCCL produced only 50 million ton in 2013-14. Similarly, the SCCL may produce about 52 million ton although its target was 55 million ton,” he said.

“Of 52 million tonnes, 80% comes from open cast mines and only 20% comes from underground mines. The SCCL has never achieved its targeted production of 15-20 million ton from underground mines. The open cast mines are over exploited and there is no further scope for increase in production from open cast mines. Of total production, only 73% is being used for power production. In this scenario, how can we expect the SCCL to produce 125 million tonnes, including 70 million ton additional requirement,” he said.

Shabbir Ali said that the government should adopt a realistic approach to resolve the energy crisis.

Speaking about welfare, the Congress MLC said that the government released just 54.64% of the total allocations meant for the welfare of SC, ST, BC and Minorities communities. He reminded that the Chief Minister has assured the House during last budget that the unspent amounts on welfare would be carried forward in the next budget. Therefore, he demanded that the Appropriation Bill should have a clear mention of carrying forwards of entire unspent amounts.

Shabbir Ali also accused the State Government of taking a U-turn on 12% ST and Muslim Reservation. “There is no mention of giving 12% reservation to STs and Muslims in the budget speech. In last budget speech, you made a deliberate error and mentioned Muslim population as 11%. You promised to correct the mistake, but did nothing. Recently, the government appointed two committees under Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952. These committees are bogus and an eye-wash. Their findings will be good for academic purpose, not for providing reservation,” he said adding that the decision on reservation can be taken only by BC and ST Commissions, not committees. He also explained the process which was adopted to provide 4% reservation of Muslims by the then Congress Government in 2004.

Shabbir Ali also advised the State Government not to trust the Narendra Modi-led Central Government. He said that as against the State’s expectation of Central Assistance of Rs 21,720 Crore under Plan and Non-Plan, Telangana got just Rs 5,493 crore. “Again this year, we are expecting to get Rs 12,400 crore of Central assistance. The Finance Minister is also expecting a rise in share of Central Taxes by over Rs 3,000 crore this year. Therefore, put together, Rs 15,400 crore of our revenues depend upon the mood of the Centre,” he said.

The Congress MLC also questioned the government on Mission Kakatiya, Water Grid, KG to PG free education, financial assistance to the families of martyrs and other issues.

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