KTR in Assembly: While Centre is trying to smother weavers, BRS has come to their rescue

He also commented on the Centre's failure to allot coal mines in the state and outlined the growth of the state's IT sector.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Feb 11, 2023 | 3:26 AM Updated Feb 11, 2023 | 3:27 AM

Telangana minister KT Rama Rao. (Supplied)

In a vituperative attack on the Centre, Telangana’s Industries, Handloom, and Textiles Minister KT Rama Rao said on Friday, 10 February, that the BJP dispensation would go down in history as the only government that had imposed a 5-percent GST on handlooms and textiles.

Replying to the discussion on various demands in the state budget in the Assembly, the minister said that at a time when the Centre was trying to smother weavers, the BRS government came to their rescue as they happened to be next — in numbers — only to those dependent on agriculture.

He said that in 2013-14, when Telangana a was part of the undivided Andhra Pradesh, the then Congress government allocated ₹70 crore for the handloom sector.

But now, under the leadership of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, the state has not only made generous allocations for the sector but also brought in several welfare schemes for those dependent on it, he stated.

“We are coming to the rescue of handloom and powerloom workers, but the prime minister and the BJP seem to be very vengeful against weavers,” he said.

KTR also claimed that prior to Narendra Modi, who came to power in 2014, there were 14 prime ministers who were not as unkind as Modi had been towards and handlooms and textiles sector.

Also read: Apologise if you can’t prove allegations, KTR tells Opposition

He noted that though he had written “lakhs of letters” to the prime minister, the latter remained unmoved.

He added that he had come to know that the BJP was contemplating increasing the GST from 5 percent to 12 percent in this sector.

The Centre had turned a deaf ear to the repeated requests of Telangana to sanction a mega powerloom cluster for Sircilla and a national textile research institute for the state, said KTR.

In contrast, the Telangana government was helping the weavers by giving a 50 percent subsidy on yarn and dyes, said the minister.

No coal for Telangana

Referring to the “stepmotherly” treatment meted out to Telangana in the allotment of coal blocks, the minister asked BJP legislator Eatala Rajender to confront the Centre on why it was against their allotment to the Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL).

He recalled the chief minister asking the Central government why it had sent letters to the power utilities in the states not to purchase domestic coal but import it from other countries.

KTR also asked why the power utilities should spend four times more to import coal when domestic coal was available in abundance. He wanted to know whose interests the Centre was trying to promote and protect.

He noted that it is strange that soon after the prime minister’s visit to Australia, his “friend” gets a coal mine in just two months. If the prime minister visits Indonesia, again his “friend” gets coal mines in that country too.

He wanted to know whether it was not true that the SCCL was doing a better job than Coal India, which is under the Centre’s control.

Also read: India will be a $15-trillion economy with a leader like KCR, says KTR 

Referring to the privatisation of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), the minister wanted to know why it was being offered to the private sector on a platter.

“The method that the Centre adopts is all very clear, he stated. First, it does not allot coal mines, and then, branding it as sick, it is privatising it,” he said, adding, “It is like calling a dog rabid before killing it.”

For the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation, mines were allotted on a nomination basis, but when it came to Telangana, no allocation was made, noted KTR.

Let Rajender confront the Centre on the injustice being done to the state, he said.

The IT sector at its best

Outlining the growth of the Information Technology (IT) sector in the state, the minister said that Hyderabad was giving tough competition to Bengaluru.

In 2014, there were only 3.23 lakh IT employees, but now, their number has gone up to 8.7 lakh, he said.

Last year, 4.5 lakh IT jobs were created in the entire country, of which Telangana’s share was 1.5 lakh, which KTR called a great achievement.

In the creation of new jobs, Hyderabad has already beaten Bengaluru, he claimed.