TRS MP Nama Nageswara Rao spoke to Harikishan Sharma about why he raised the issue of pending GST compensation to states in the Lok Sabha.
What is the issue you raised?
As per the GST Act, the Centre has to compensate whatever the shortfall in the revenue of a state is. Telangana has to get around Rs 4,531 crore… We have requested several times. We have written letters to the Finance Minister, we are also requesting the House… Ours is a new state (Telangana). According to the state reorganisation Act, we should get money for development of backward regions. But an amount of Rs 450 crore is also pending.
Don’t you think that the issue should be raised in the meeting of GST Council instead of Lok Sabha?
There is no dispute. Actually, this is the pending amount they are unable to pay. The Act is very clear… whatever the shortfall is, the Centre has to compensate…
What do you expect from the Centre?
On one hand, the entire economy is down. On the other hand, whatever money we should get from the Centre, they are not releasing it. Cash flow is required for the state. This is affecting the development of our state. We demanded a reply from the Finance Minister.
Apart from the GST, are there other funds which are not being released by the Centre?
Yes, an amount of Rs 450 crore is pending for the development of the backward areas under the state reorganisation Act. Similarly, finance commission grant of Rs 312 crore for rural local bodies and Rs 393 crore for urban local bodies; and central assistance of Rs 19,205 crore for the Bhagiratha mission as recommended by the NITI Aayog are also pending. These are our rights. Today, when I raised this matter in the House, members from other states and parties also raised this issue. From Shiv Sena to TMC, almost all supported it.
You said that the economy is down. Do you think the government should take steps to push growth?
We were expecting double digit GDP growth a few years back. But now it has come down to 4-5 percent. It is alarming. The government has to take serious steps on this matter because unemployment is widespread and there are other issues too. Ours is a growing country, it should definitely touch 9-10 percent GDP growth rate.