KCR speech at Inter State Council meeting in Delhi

kcr-delhiTelangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao has visited Delhi to attend the inter state council meeting which is conducted by NDA under PM Narendra Modi in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

KCR has received a grand welcome by his TRS party MPs at the Airport. As per the reports, 17 Central Ministers and the CMs of all the states have participated in this meeting.

Here is the complete speech of KCR ..

At the outset let me congratulate the Hon’ble Prime Minister for taking the initiative of convening this meeting of Inter State Council after a long gap.

We support the concept of ‘Collaborative Federalism’ and strong Centre co-existing with strong states, as propounded by Punchhi Commission. However, there still remains a lot to be done by the Centre to strengthen the States by greater devolution of funds along with vigorous initiatives to take up the responsibility to create infrastructure which will boost the economy. Though the Centre has, of late, improved the budgetary allocation on highways, the country also requires substantial infusion of funds in irrigation, education and healthcare. Each state should be given at least one major national project in Irrigation.

In the matter of any new Act or amendments brought by the Central Government in the concurrent list, the consent of States should invariably be taken and in case it entails a financial burden on the States, the Centre should fully reimburse it. For example, in Telangana alone, Rs. 300 crores are required annually to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Further, there are schemes like model schools sanctioned by the Government of India, but funding has stopped now creating a huge burden on the States in terms of salaries and allied expenditure. If any scheme is started by Government of India, all recurring expenditure should be borne by it, instead of abruptly stopping the same.

Unilateral control of central agencies in the matter of subjects in the concurrent list should be avoided. For example AICTE should not give permissions to Colleges unless ‘No Objection Certificate’ is given by the affiliating Universities. When Telangana was formed in 2014, there were as many as 356 engineering colleges sanctioned by the AICTE. Now this number has come down to 172, because the universities withdrew the affiliation of colleges with inadequate facilities. It is also unfair that 65% of the UGC budget is utilized for a handful of Central Universities, while the remaining 35% only is distributed to hundreds of State Universities.

We support the recommendation that the states should also be consulted while selecting the Governor. The Governor should also not have any discretionary powers in holding any Bill indefinitely and a time limit should be prescribed. We also agree that Governor should not be made Chancellor to the Universities as they have a larger role to discharge the constitutional functions and Telangana has already implemented this.

The Central Government should also take a more decisive role in resolving the inter-state disputes. It should also be made mandatory for the Tribunal for Inter-state water disputes to give their awards in a prescribed time limit, as recommended by Punchhi Commission.

As a new State, Telangana has been very proactive in maintaining good relations with its neighbors; for example, in signing an agreement on Godavari water between Maharashtra and Telangana, having a Power Purchase Agreement with Chhattisgarh, and an arrangement for drinking water from Karnataka. However, there are some contentious issues still lingering with Andhra Pradesh, which need to be resolved by the Centre.

The Centre should also intervene, if necessary, by introducing appropriate amendments to the laws, to carry out the delimitation exercise to increase the number of Assembly constituencies in Telangana from 119 to 153 as per A.P. Reorganization Act, 2014, which provides for such increase both in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The Government of India should also change its accounting practices regarding booking of expenditure on works of capital nature being taken up under MNREGA. Now, these are shown as revenue expenditure, even if a permanent asset is created. The State should also be encouraged to widen their resource base including recourse to borrowings by suitably enhancing the FRBM limits.

Funds to local bodies must be routed through the State governments. Presently the Zilla Parishads are devoid of finances because the funding is done direct to Gram Panchayats. It creates problems in integrated planning and development at the district level.

We support all initiatives for proper targeting and disbursement of subsidies and increasing use of Aadhar Cards in key Government schemes. Telangana is in the forefront in the use of Aadhar cards in disbursement of subsidies and benefits. We have 100% Aadhaar coverage in Pre-matric and post-matric scholarships, RTA owners and drivers database, 99% in social welfare pensions, 95% in MNREGA and we are at the top among the states with 99.8% coverage in civil supplies.

When coming to the education of our children, it has been our experience that residential schools provide a better learning environment. There were 133 Residential Schools for Scheduled Castes, 45 for Scheduled Tribes, 26 for Other Backward Classes, 12 for minorities and 51 for general categories in Telangana. It also has 269 Ashram Schools and 398 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas. After formation of Telangana, we have sanctioned 103 Residential Schools for Scheduled Castes, 50 for Scheduled Tribes, 66 for OBCs and 71 for minorities. We have also sanctioned 30 residential degree colleges for S.C. girls. The State also has 1892 hostels for SCs, STs, OBCs and Minorities. We get better results from students in these schools and the pass percentage is above 95% in High School and 85% in Intermediate. A large number of students are getting selected in All India Services and national level competitive exams for IITs and NITs. Similarly, children in these schools are also excellent in extra-curricular activities. Recently 2 students created a record of climbing the Mount Everest at the young age of 13 years.

The learning outcome can be improved with following interventions:
a) Using residential model of schools
b) Improvement in recruitment process: Telangana has taken a decision to recruit teachers only through Public Service Commission with written test and demonstration in teaching without any interview.
c) Standards of Pre-Service Training to Teachers should be improved by National Council for Teacher Training (NCTE);
d) Use of biometric system to improve accountability in teachers,
e) Use of technology for monitoring the performance of children online, continuous evaluation system and giving incentive awards to teachers.

The Education system should be seen in a holistic way and there should be proper integration from KG to PG education to ensure access, quality and equity in education, focused on learning outcomes. Emphasis on physical literacy and well-rounded development of students should be the focus. In this important endeavor which is very vital in nation building, the States expect better financial support from Government of India, particularly to improve the quality of learning and teachers training.
Police modernization is important for internal security and should be a priority item, but the allocation of funds from Government of India has come down. Modernization should also include greater use of technology, C.C. cameras and unified command and control systems. Cell towers should also be sanctioned in remote areas to improve the coverage.

Centre should also improve the deployment of Central Armed Police Forces in areas particularly at the border of two States.

Punchhi Commission has suggested having institutional set up on the lines of Homeland Security in USA, which is a good idea to enable intelligence sharing among different agencies of Centre and States. The data base maintained by immigration, revenue department and similar information should be easily shared with the States to prevent crime and improving internal security.

Criminal justice system should also be thoroughly revamped. When a new legislation is brought for creation of new courts, the burden should be borne by Government of India.

Development of backward areas is at the core of solving the left wing extremism problem and Government of India should give sufficient funds for improving infrastructure, road connectivity, good educational facilities and residential schools in the LWE affected areas. Telangana has also sent proposals for roads under RRP-II, which should also be sanctioned urgently.

To conclude, let me say that an important forum like Inter State Council should be made more vibrant to promote the spirit of cooperation between the Centre and States to make India a strong, progressive and economically developed country with a strong federal structure, said KCR.