During separate meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi over the last weekend, the Chief Ministers of the two Telugu states — K Chandrasekhar Rao and YS Jagan Mohan Reddy — submitted long wish lists concerning their respective states with a request for liberal sanction of central funds for their flagship programmes.
However, there is a sense of disappointment in both the camps — Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) — over lack of any assurance from the Prime Minister on a plethora of pending issues in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
It is customary for any Chief Minister to seek funds from the Centre during such meetings and in return get an assurance that the matter would be examined. “However, no such response was forthcoming. Overall, the Centre has not been very cooperative on the issue of sanctioning funds for Telangana,” TRS sources said.
The sources pointed out that while Telangana had contributed ₹2.7 lakh crore in the form of taxes to the central kitty in the last five years, it got only ₹31,802 crore as central devolution. Besides, the Centre had cut the state’s share in central taxes devolution by 4.19 per cent and the allocations in several items had been reduced.
“Several promises made under the AP Reorganisation Act of 2014 are yet to be fulfilled. The Centre has to give a grant of ₹450 crore for development of backward areas under the Act but nothing has come,” the sources claimed.
KCR’s meeting with Modi, the first after the two leaders led their respective parties in securing a second term in office, came in the backdrop of the BJP’s aggressive attempts to make inroads into Telangana and its face-off with the state government over several public issues.
Unhappy with Jagan’s moves
The saffron party has made public its growing displeasure over the style of functioning of the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh.
However, with the illegal assets case hanging over his head, Jagan has been taking all possible care not to antagonise the central party and refrains from criticising its leaders.
The state BJP leaders have raised objections over the YSRCP government “re-packaging” the Centre’s “PM Kisan Yojana” and presenting it as “YSR Rythu Bharosa”, a crop investment support scheme.
During the Delhi meeting, Jagan personally invited Modi for the launch of “YSR Rythu Bharosa” at Nellore on October 15. BJP sources said that the Prime Minister was “not at all keen” to associate himself with the launch programme.
“Out of ₹12,500 to be paid to each farmer annually, ₹6,000 comes from the Centre under PM Kisan Yojana. This should not be projected as a state scheme,” the state BJP president K Lakshminarayana said.
On his part, Jagan is believed to have offered to rechristen the scheme after the Prime Minister in a bid to placate the saffron party.
Of late, there have been instances where the Centre had strongly disagreed with certain policy decisions of the Jagan government. Raising objections over the state government’s controversial decision to review the power purchase agreements with solar and wind energy developers, the Centre warned that such moves would severely hamper flow of investments into the state.
The YSRCP government’s blanket order, reviewing all key projects undertaken during the previous Telugu Desam Party government, did not go down well with the Union government. The abrupt cancellation of the contract for one of the key components of Polavaram irrigation project was also opposed by the Centre.
Funds for flagship schemes
In their representations submitted to Modi separately, the two Chief Ministers sought central funds for flagship schemes of their respective states.
While KCR, as the Telangana Chief Minister is popularly known, wanted the Centre to release ₹24,205 crore for “Mission Kakatiya” (restoration of defunct irrigation tanks) and “Mission Bhagiratha” (piped drinking water supply to every household) programmes, Jagan sought ₹40,000 crore from the Centre towards grant-in-aid, citing severe resource crunch that AP has been facing since bifurcation.
KCR submitted a wish list containing 22 demands including release of ₹450 crore due to the state towards the 5th installment of assistance for backward districts in Telangana as per the AP State Reorganisation Act, 2014.
He also asked the Prime Minister to take up enactment of a legislation in Parliament removing the cap of 50 per cent reservations in education and employment, so that the quota for OBCs, including minorities, can be increased.
The TRS government had proposed to provide reservation of 37 per cent to OBCs (including 12 per cent to minorities), 15 per cent to SCs and 10 per cent to STs.
The other demands put forth by KCR in his representation include: revival of Cement Corporation of India in Adilabad, enhancement of the number of judges in Telangana High Court from 24 to 42; establishment of IIMs, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), National Institute of Design, and 23 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas; sanction of pending railway projects in Telangana; a steel plant at Bayyaram in Khammam; release of funds for National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) at Zaheerabad; development of Hyderabad–Nagpur and Warangal-Hyderabad Industrial Corridors.
On his part, Jagan wanted the Centre to release ₹1,050 crore towards special package for development of backward areas in Andhra on the lines of Bundelkhand and Kalahandi areas.
The other demands include construction of steel plant at Kadapa and port at Ramayampatnam, release of funds for Visakhapatnam-Chennai industrial corridor and Kakinada Petroleum Complex and granting special category status to AP to boost industrial investments in the state.