Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, popularly known as KCR, on Monday presented a trimmed budget of Rs 1.46 lakh crore in the Assembly, almost 20% less than what was presented in the vote-on-account Budget in February. The chief minister attributed the reduction in funds to economic slowdown and decline in revenues, PTI reported.

“I regret that I am presenting the state Budget for 2019-’20 in the House when both the Centre and state are going through a severe financial crisis,” Rao said. “We have to tread carefully and cautiously during such a testing time. We cannot go beyond certain limits.”

KCR pointed out that the country was going through a slowdown since the last 18 months. “There is a steep fall in the Gross Domestic Product,” he said. “All major sectors are experiencing downward trend. Revenues have fallen.”

The chief minister said the Centre’s reduced allocations led to severe losses for the state. The Narendra Modi government had reduced the state’s share in central taxes devolution by 4.19%. “The Centre also reduced allocations in several other items causing severe loss to the state,” he explained.

He presented an annual budget of Rs 1,46,492.30 crore, of which Rs 1,11,055.84 crore was allotted for revenue expenditure while Rs 17,274.67 crore was allotted for capital expenditure, he added.

However, in February, KCR had presented the vote on account showing a revenue expenditure of Rs 1,31,629 crore and a capital expenditure of Rs 32,815 crore.

The chief minister said the government had decided to formulate the budget based on change in scenario because of slowing growth and other ground realities. KCR claimed the state’s finance department did a lot of brainstorming, and discussed the matter with several experts with a practical approach before preparing the budget. He said if the situation improved in future, there was always scope for making suitable changes in the estimates.

The chief minister noted that the central government had expected a tax growth of 22.69% in 2019-’20 but ended up achieving only 1.36%. KCR said that in the last five financial years Telangana had recorded an average of 13.36% growth rate in commercial taxes whereas in the first four months of this financial year it was only 6.61%.

He insisted that despite all this, Telangana was doing much better than many other states. The chief minister said Punjab, Karnataka and Haryana had recorded negative growth rates.

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