State seeks immediate release of � 1,433 crore

 thehindu.com  09/20/2020 02:10:52 

Municipal Administration Minister K. T. Rama Rao has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, highlighting that non-release of statutorily mandated Finance Commission grants and the COVID-induced shortfall in State's own revenues had handicapped Telangana no end.

The State was also denied its rightful entitlement in the grants to urban local bodies recommended by the Fourteenth Finance Commission (2015-20), Mr. Rao said.

In this context, he made out a case for immediate release of all pending dues under Finance Commission, aggregating 1,433.95 crore which included the overdue first instalment grant of 468 crore to million plus city (Hyderabad), the balance second instalment grant of 315.75 crore to non-million cities and the pending statutory grants of 650.20 crore recommended by the Fourteenth Finance Commission.

Mr. Rao recalled that the present Fifteenth Finance Commission had recommended release of grants amounting to 468 crore to Hyderabad as a million plus city and 421 crore to non-million plus cities in the State in two equal instalments in June and October this year. This recommendation was already accepted by the Centre and an Action-Taken Report was also placed in Parliament.

While the grant to million plus cities was yet to be released, grant to non-million cities was split into four instalments in contravention of the recommendation of the Finance Commission. The first instalment of 105.25 crore was released on May 19 last.

The State was also denied its rightful entitlement in the grants to urban local bodies recommended by the Fourteenth Finance Commission. The commission recommended unconditional basic grant of 2,711.12 crore but the Centre released only 2,502.90 crore, a shortfall of 208.22 crore.

Though the State had fulfilled all the conditions attached to performance grant of 677.79 crore, the amount released was only 235.81 crore, again a shortfall of 441.98 crore. Thus, the State was denied 650.20 crore of the statutory grant to urban local bodies. "The full amount was released to some other States".

Mr. Rao pleaded that States like Telangana were in the forefront of fighting the COVID pandemic and trying to revive the economic activity. Telangana was surging ahead to improve the civic and social infrastructure and sanitation facilities in urban areas. The additional budget provisions made in its budget for this year and matching the Central Finance Commission grants had clearly demonstrated the commitment of the State.

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