Hyderabad: Coming up firm with a touch of subtlety, IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao on Thursday asked the BJP government to shed its condescending attitude and arrogant tone and tenor while dealing with States.
“If somebody takes up this posturing of ‘I am the giver and you are the taker,’ then I have every right to ask them what did you give when I have given you so much. What we don’t like to hear from the Union government is ‘Humne aap ko bahut kuch de diya,” the Minister said of the running feud between Telangana and the Centre on the issue of rightful devolution of tax funds and Central assistance for infrastructure and developmental projects.
India is Union of States: KTR
Citing the “original” Constitution adopted on November 26, 1949, to drive home the point that India was a Union of States, Rama Rao pointed out that the word “Central” government does not find mention in the Constitution. “It was Government of India or Union government. India is a Union of States,” he asserted, obviously alluding to the definition of Union (government) as opposed to Central (government) which gives it a notion of centralisation.
The Minister, who was sharing his views on ‘Role of States in Building India’ at the Times Now SummitAction Plan 2020 in New Delhi, observed that as long as the Union government confines itself to creating and enabling an atmosphere that help States to grow and thrive, it would be good for the country. “The stronger the States, the stronger the country; and I think we will do well if they realise this. But, if the Centre starts dictating terms, starts bulldozing States just by way of ideology or by way of posturing, that’s not going to help the country,” Rama Rao said, mincing no words.
TS contributes more than it receives from Central Kitty
When the anchor sought to know if the Centre and States were on a collision course in the past six years, the Minister said it wasn’t the case but was quick to reiterate that it was the condescending attitude that doesn’t go down well with States. “When somebody says in Parliament that we have given a State Rs 85,000 crore, then I will ask him back whether the States are not paying the Centre. Where is the Centre getting money from? Telangana State contributed Rs 2.72 lakh crore to the Central kitty by way of taxes in the past five years, and what did we get back in return? About Rs 1.15 lakh. Where did the rest of the money go?” he asked, adding that what the State demands is only its rightful share in tax devolution. “Telangana State has contributed much more than you can imagine or match,” he added.
Known for his prowess in articulation of thought and ideas, the Minister, when asked if there was an enabling atmosphere in the country now, was categorical in stating that it were States where action is happening. “For example, you have the Make in India campaign. Ultimately, it the States that have to do all the work – from giving permissions to allotment of lands, providing power, water and incentives. The Government of India has to realise this,” he said.
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