KCR: Freebies part of welfare state

Eknath Shinde

Rama Krishna Sangem

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has made it clear that freebies or subsidies to the poor are part of the welfare state of India. “The spirit of Indian Constitution clearly says this. Subsidies or sops to the poor are very much needed in the present conditions. We need to be humane, freebies are not wasteful expenditure,” he said, in a media meet at Pragathi Bhavan in Hyderabad on August 6, Saturday.

KCR said that he was boycotting the Niti Aayog meeting in Delhi on August 7, Sunday, as a mark of protest against the Centre’s anti-people policies and the way the interests of states are harmed. “The very purpose of Niti Aayog has been lost. the previous planning commission used to be a forum for discussions and debates. Now no one listens recommendations of Niti Aayog,” said the CM.

KCR attacked the Centre mainly on three counts: 1. Centre curtailing the borrowing capacity of states under the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) Act, 2. Centre objecting to freebies to the poor offered by states. 3. The manner in which Centre is imposing GST on items used by the common man and the poor. 

KCR’s frontal attack on freebies assumes significance at a time when Supreme Court is hearing a PIL on the issue filed by a BJP activist. The CM justified freebies or subsidies and sops to the poor and vulnerable sections of society. “We are giving old age pension of Rs 2,016 per month to about 36 lakh people in Telangana. We will increase the number by another 10 lakh soon,” he said.

It is not clear whether Telangana government would implead in the PIL and place its views before the SC, but KCR hit out at the Cenre for terming the freebies as unwanted. “How is it wrong to give pensions to certain sections like single women, or fileria or dialysis patients or beedi workers or hand loom wavers ?asked KCR. 

If freebies are a wasteful, how can the Centre justify the Rs 12 lakh crore of NPAs (Non performing assets or bad loans of  banks? How can the Centre waive lakhs of crores of rupees of loans taken by big companies since 2014? argued CM KCR. He strongly defended the existing pro-poor schemes as they are necessary for sustaining the livelihood of the poor.

KCR termed Niti Aayog as a wasteful institution as none of its recommendations was heard or implemented by the Centre. “Niti Aayog has recommended central support to many of Telangana’s schemes like Mission Bhagiratha, but nothing came out so far,” said the CM. “Why should I sit in Niti Aayog’s meeting for 4 hours to speak for about 4 minutes? My boycott would  be louder than my presence there”.

KCR explained that his opposition to the Centre is based on principles. “I have nothing personal against PM Modi, in fact, he is my good friend,” said the CM. Every since KCR’s media conference was announced Saturday afternoon, some media channels predicted KCR would announce dissolution of the State Assembly and go for early elections, but he refrained from political criticism at the media meet.



Rama Krishna Sangem

Ramakrishna chief editor of excel India online magazine and website

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