The state exchequer received just Rs 3,100 crore in taxes, including Rs 982 crore from the Centre towards the state’s share for the month of May, as against Rs 12,000 crore in average receipts per month before the lockdown. “The salaries and pensions alone would require more than Rs 3,000 crore. If the salaries are paid in full, the entire treasury will become empty,” Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao said.
The government noted that the relaxations extended to sectors like the transport and the stamps and registrations from the lockdown restrictions had not made any substantial difference.
Telangana government’s decision to extend half-pay rule to its staff comes days after the Andhra Pradesh government said it would pay full salary to its employees from May onwards. It may be recalled that the governments of both the Telugu-speaking states announced similar deferment in salary payments in the last week of March ahead of the announcement of nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Talking about other payment obligations, Rao said that the government had to repay a debt of Rs 37,400 crore per year in monthly installments without fail. “The state government has requested the Centre to re-schedule the loans. But the Centre did not take any action in this regard. With this, the state has no option but to pay the installments. Even though the Centre has increased the FRBM limit, we could not raise the additional loans due to the conditions attached to these relaxations,” the chief minister said.
Despite these financial constraints, the government will continue to pay social security pensions and the additional 12 kg rice during the month of May. However, the government will discontinue the cash payment of Rs 1,500 to the poor in May.
A deduction of 50 per cent salary of government employees, 60 per cent salary of the All India Services officers and a 75 percent deduction in salary of public representatives will continue in the given situation, the government stated.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to allow all the shops in the state to open without any restrictions, except those in malls. The government has also exempted the road transport corporation’s bus service from the night curfew.