Hyderabad: IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao categorically stated on Friday that if the country has to prosper over the next one decade and transform into a powerhouse, economics should supersede politics.
“In a federal republic such as India, the Centre should support States and work together. But the Govt of India has to realise that giving proper support to a State which is performing will ultimately help the country,” the Minister said.
Rama Rao was speaking at a virtual fireside chat on ‘States to Watch Out For in the Next Decade’ at India Economic Conclave 2021 organised by Times Group.
When asked if there was any hope for revival of cooperative federalism between the Centre and States, the Minister said the spirit of ‘Team India’ will serve only if words are translated into action. “We assumed office six years back when NDA government also assumed office in Delhi. Sadly, the slogans are not being converted into an actionable point,” he said.
Stating that Telangana’s focus was on sectors such as IT, life sciences, defence, aerospace, textiles, and logistics – which he termed as sunrise sectors – Rama Rao pointed out that India had immense opportunities to be a global player in these sectors. “If India and progressive States such as Telangana start thinking and planning on scale to compete with large manufacturing countries like China, we need to set up large industrial parks and industrial corridors which further translate into economies of scale for our manufacturers,” he said.
“Telangana is a progressive and performing State. But the policies of the Union government somehow seem to be disincentivising and demoralising a performing state like Telangana. Telangana’s contribution to national GDP is 5 per cent. However, Telangana needs to be encouraged and needs to be made a part of Central-sponsored schemes,” the Minister said.
Rama Rao pointed out that when NITI Aayog recommended monetary support of Rs 24,000 crore for Mission Bhagiratha, Telangana did not get 24 paise. “Except praises, Telangana never got any monetary support,” he said.
— Minister for IT, Industries, MA & UD, Telangana (@MinisterKTR) March 26, 2021
He pointed out that Telangana was a new State and that at the time of State formation, it was assured of many incentives such as industrial corridors, ITIR, a steel plant, but none of these promises were fulfilled. “The stronger the States emerge, the stronger will our country be,” he said.
Highlighting the fact that Hyderabad was the vaccine capital of the world, he said: “We are a city of international importance and ship out vaccines to 70-80 countries. While we produce 35 per cent of global vaccines in Hyderabad, our vaccine testing lab is 1200 km away in Kasauli.”
He also pointed out that Telangana produces 35 per cent of the country’s turmeric, but the board has been promised to other States.
Stating that defence and aerospace industry was a strategic sector, the Minister said Telangana was home to several defence labs. “We requested the Centre to launch a defence industrial production corridor between Hyderabad and Bengaluru, but it goes to Bundelkhand,” he said.
Rama Rao said the Centre should play the role of big brother and bring everyone into one room and ensure everyone works as a team.
“Unfortunately, it’s not happening. Telangana is a performing State which is contributing to the growth of the nation and its time the Union government take us into confidence and work together,” Rama Rao said.