The Telangana government’s dream of developing the much-awaited Hyderabad-Nagpur Industrial Corridor (HNIC) is not likely to materialise anytime soon.
The Centre made it clear in the Lok Sabha on Monday, 13 February, that Telangana has to find the funds for the 585-km project, of which 280 km is in the state.
Replying to the query of BRS members G Ranjith Reddy and M Kavitha, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the state could utilise the funds that the Centre transfers to Telangana under various heads, indicating that it was not ready to release any additional funds.
The two MPs sought to know whether the Centre has received any request from the state for allocating sufficient funds for the HNIC and if so, whether it was giving priority to the project in the Union Budget for 2023-24.
The minister, in a written reply, admitted that the Centre had received a proposal for the HNIC on 1 January this year, and advised the state to utilise substantial resources released to the state under various heads.
State Government of #Telangana has submitted a proposal for consideration of a number of projects including the #Hyderabad – #Nagpur Industrial Corridor in the Union Budget 2023-24.. pic.twitter.com/qE3gzRmG29
— Hari Krishnan Pongilath (@h_pongilath) February 13, 2023
The heads, according to her, were ministries and departments under the heads of Tax Devolution, Finance Commission Transfers, Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS), Central Sector Schemes (CS), Affordable Care Act for Employee Assistance Programs, and Special Assistance to states for capital investment.
Development of North Telangana
The state, while forwarding the proposal to the Centre, hoped that it would not only provide employment to the youth, but would also spur economic growth in North Telangana districts, some of which remain backward even now.
The state had proposed the creation of infrastructure for the industries to move to North Telangana districts. The proposal sought the creation of passenger and rail connectivity, which is essential for the growth of the industry. The project would also benefit Maharashtra as the corridor extends into the neighbouring state.
Interestingly, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said on 4 August 2021 that Part I of the HNIC was among the 11 industrial corridors with 32 projects that had been cleared for development in four phases. The project’s proposal is as old as Telangana itself. The proposal went to the Centre in 2014, but it remains to be a non-starter.
Telangana’s outstanding debt
In another reply to a query of a Telangana MP, the Centre gave a detailed account of Telangana’s outstanding debt.
In a written reply to Congress member N Uttam Kumar Reddy in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said that the accumulated public debt was ₹4.33 lakh crore at the end of October 2022.
The following is the break up of the loans the state had raised in each year since its formation.
- ₹8,121 Cr in 2014-15
- ₹15,515 Cr in 2015-16
- ₹30,313 Cr in 2016-17
- ₹22,658 Cr in 2017-18
- ₹23,091 Cr in 2018-19
- ₹30,577 Cr in 2019-20
- ₹38,161 Cr in 2020-21
- ₹39,433 Cr in 2021-22
The minister said that the accumulated debt of Telangana in 2014-15 was ₹75.577 crore. The figure went up to ₹2.83 lakh crore by 2020-21.
Besides this, state public sector undertakings and corporations raised ₹1.5 lakh core. The corporations and public sector undertakings borrowed ₹1.3 lakh crore.
Besides these, central public sector undertakings had extended loans to the state public sector undertakings and ₹7,144 crore of ₹8,871 crore has been released, the minister stated.