Sitharaman is lying about Centre providing rations: Harish Rao

"In reality, the centre does not provide NFSA cards to more than 50-55% of the state's population," said Rao.

Hyderabad: Telangana finance minister T Harish Rao on Friday said that Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman only spoke lies and half-truths about the central government’s role in providing rice under the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS). Sitharaman made the statements during her visit to Telangana.

“Today, there are a lot of poor states in the country. Telangana is one of the 5-6 states that contribute to the country’s growth. Since Telangana was formed, we have paid Rs 3,65,795 crores to the Centre. The Centre has provided Rs 1,96,448 crores to the state,” he said during a press meeting in Toopran, Medak district.

On a visit to PDS outlets in Kamareddy district of Telangana on Friday, Sitharaman sought details of the costs incurred per kilogram for rice disbursed through the PDS, by the central and state governments respectively.

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Unhappy with the vague responses of the district administration officials to her query, she insisted the district collector furnish the details on priority.

Pointing out that the central government contributes Rs 29 out of Rs 35 towards each kilogram of rice disbursed through the public distribution system, Sitharaman wondered why Prime Minister Modi’s photograph is missing in these outlets.

Harish Rao said that it was laughable that Sitharaman spoke about putting up the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi outside ration shops.

“Being the finance minister, how can she talk about putting up the Prime Minister’s photos outside ration shops? She is trivialising the position of Prime Minister,” he said.

“In reality, the centre does not provide NFSA cards to more than 50-55% of the state’s population. Even the provided cards are priced at Rs 3, out of which the state government pays Rs 2. The remaining 45% are provided cards by the state government, completely free,” stated Harish Rao.

“The state government spends Rs 3610 crores on rice. Have we put up a picture of the chief minister outside the PDS centres?” he asked.

Sitharaman said that Telangana did not join Ayushman Bharat, the Centre’s national public health insurance fund, because the ‘reality’ will be exposed to people. I will resign right at this moment if you can prove that Telangana did not join Ayushman Bharat. Are you ready to do the same, he asked.

Rao then furnished a copy of exchange in the parliament session of February 2022 in which Uttam Kumar Reddy asked the Union health minister if Telangana is enrolled in the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

“The reply from the union government says that the state has been part of Ayushman Bharat since April 2021. Which union minister should be believed?” he asked.

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