Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday alleged that the Union government was trying to undermine the federal values envisaged by the architects of the Constitution for the country, reported the Hindustan Times.
In his Independence Day address, Rao also alleged that the Centre was engaging in conspiracies that weaken the states financially.
“It is making a mockery of the Constitution by taking decisions on subjects in the Concurrent List without consulting the states and subsequently bringing pressure on the states to implement the decisions,” Rao alleged.
Concurrent List contains a list of subjects on which both the central and the state governments can make laws.
Rao claimed that 41% of revenue collected by the Centre in form of taxes should be paid to the states, reported ANI. But the Union government, he said, was making revenue though cess (tax on tax) instead of imposing taxes with the “malicious intention” of reducing the share to be paid to the states.
“Through this, 11.4% of the revenue due to the states in 2022-’23 will be deducted,” he claimed. “It means that states are given only 29.6% where they should get 41% share and face injustice. As if this is not enough, various restrictions are being arbitrarily imposed on the economic freedom of the states.”
The Central government talks about the ideals of cooperative federalism, but is in reality indulging in centralisation of powers, the chief minister alleged, reported PTI. He said that the first Article of the Constitution that states India is a union of states is being mocked.
Calling welfare schemes ‘freebies’ insulting: CM
Rao also said that it was insulting that the Centre was calling welfare schemes “freebies”, according to PTI.
The chief minister said that welfare of the citizens is the primary responsibility of the government.
“It is blame-worthy that the Centre, without properly fulfilling that responsibility, is insulting by calling welfare schemes as freebies,” Rao added.
The debate on the matter started after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on July 16 described welfare schemes as “revdi culture”. Revdi is a sweet made of jaggery and sesame.
At an event in Panipat on August 10, Modi added that such announcements increase the burden on taxpayers and stop the country from becoming self-reliant.
The remarks by the prime minister invited sharp criticism from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who on August 11 had alleged that the central government’s opposition to welfare schemes showed that its finances were in a bad shape.
Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party has built its support base through welfare schemes funded by government subsidies, had also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre of taxing the poor to “write off the loans of their friends”.
In response, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said that Kejriwal was giving a “perverse twist” to the debate on freebies by questioning whether providing education and healthcare constituted such handouts.