Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s forward-thinking wealth creation schemes have resulted in massive employment opportunities in the State of Telangana
The time has come now to redefine the whole notion and perspective of employment, at least in the context of Telangana. It is high time that critics realise that jobs are not mere figures and that too in government departments. The umpteen welfare and development programmes in Telangana that enhance the living standards of people and create livelihood in some form or other are the real instances of job creation.
Put this in the perspective of the Telangana State under the CM K Chandrashekhar Rao. Ever since KCR assumed office, he has consistently advocated the need to create prosperity for all sections of the Society. When wealth is created, it automatically creates employment, the term often erratically used for jobs. KCR's preference is social insurance.
We defined our country as a welfare state. A welfare state is a form of government in which the state protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of the citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity and equitable distribution of wealth. The welfare state is a way of governing in which the state or an established group of social institutions provide basic economic security for its citizens. By definition, in a welfare state, the government is responsible for the individual and social welfare of its citizens. A fundamental feature of the welfare state is social insurance. All these fundamental concepts hold good in the case of Telangana.
Against this theoretical context, one should understand the difference between unemployment and getting gainful employment. No state in the world can ever provide jobs for all its unemployed masses in the government sector.
A quick look at all the welfare and development programmes, policies and schemes that KCR's government had been implementing for the past six and half years reveals that each and every measure is aimed at creating wealth and making people self-reliant. This essential part of the policies, programmes and schemes of KCR is never explored in real essence.
Take any of the schemes and programmes of the KCR government, there is an opportunity linked to it to create wealth. These include programmes like 'Palle Pragathi' and 'Pattana Pragathi' that have tremendous economic activity imbibed in them. For instance, under 'Palle Pragathi' each gram panchayat is given a tractor with a trolley and tanker to transport the debris and to water the plants. The activity of each tractor with trailer and tanker provides employment to at least three persons. Imagine how much employment it created in the villages all over the State. Should we not count this as job creation?
Take the programmes aimed at empowering the hereditary professions, be it distributing sheep, fish lets, incentives given to the dairy industry or helping the hairdressers to open a modern saloon in the rural areas or helping a goldsmith to open his workshop and sale outlet have all provided new opportunities. Fish culture has been developed at several irrigation projects and reservoirs. The day is not far off when Telangana starts exporting meat and fish. These are all directly and indirectly increasing the economic activity, which in turn creates both personal and market wealth. Should we not count this as job creation?
Take another major policy like 'Rythu Bandhu'. The financial assistance given to each farmer for two crops in a year will result in the farmer employing some more people to help him in his activities. Even assuming that each farmer needs four to five people as support, it means more gainful employment. Construction of major, medium, minor and small irrigation projects also adds to the list of more employees. Once these projects are all completed, we need a major workforce to maintain them. The mechanisation of agriculture too creates job opportunities. Is this not employment? The 'Rythu Bhima' social insurance enables the deceased farmer's family members to stand on their own legs — a livelihood.
For any evaluation of the State's economic health, the per capita calculation gives the actual position. In Telangana, for the past six and a half years, the per capita power consumption has increased leaps and bounds. In 2014, the total power consumption was 47,338 million units (MU). The power consumption was 68,147 MU in 2018-19. In the last six years, there has been an increase of 44 per cent in consumption. This is an indicator of the individual's monetary strength. Reforms and restructuring in the power sector not only pulled the State out of perennial power crisis to a power surplus but also opened up vast opportunities to thousands of skilled and unskilled people to get gainful employment.
The per capita income at constant prices in Telangana had increased from Rs 91,121 (during 2011-12) to Rs 1,53,927 (during 2019-20) registering a growth from 1.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent. The GSDP during the same period increased from Rs 3,59,434 to Rs 6,63,258 registering a growth from 2.97 per cent to 8.23 per cent. The per capita income at current prices in Telangana has increased from Rs 91,121 (During 2011-12) to Rs 2,28,216 (During 2019-20) registering a growth of 11.6 per cent. The GSDP during the same period increased from Rs 3,59,434 to Rs 9,69,604, registering a growth of 12.61 per cent. This is yet another indicator of great wealth creation.
Right from day one, KCR had been focussing on the need to strengthen the rural economy. All his schemes, policies and programmes are planned and executed towards this direction. Besides filling up all the government vacancies in the rural areas, KCR created many jobs with his reform-linked administrative decisions like the creation of new districts, converting several panchayats to major panchayats, merging some major panchayats to municipalities, converting some municipalities into corporations etc. The government also converted tribal Gudems, Thandas and other habitations into panchayats. Increase in police stations, circles, divisions and a host of other decisions have created more employment and wealth creation.
Construction of Vaikunta Dhamams, burial grounds, integrated veg and non-veg markets,' Rythu Vedikas', repair and development of internal and external roads, creation of plant nursery in every village, implementation of 'Haritha Haram' on a regular basis, all these activities are proving direct and indirect employment to the local people.
A slew of welfare and development measures taken in the handloom sector, Textiles have not only pulled the sector out of woods but also helped it to sustain economically. To support this sector, the government ordered that all the government educational institutions including the residential one get their required school dresses and other upholstery done by buying cloth from the handloom and power loom sectors. This opened up a flood of activity, which led to more employment and wealth creation.
If one does an analysis sector by sector, the results would show how Telangana under KCR has boosted wealth creation and thereby created more jobs and more gainful employment as well as livelihood. Moreover, in the past six and half years, the State had employed more than 1.25 lakh in government jobs, State-owned public sector undertakings, non-government sector besides 5.82 lakh in IT sector and 14.96 lakh in the industrial sector due to TS-IPASS, totalling 22 lakh.
If one were to recall what Kautilya (Chanakya) stated in his 'Arthasastra', one would realise that the ideas of wealth creation are rooted in our country's tradition. Several recent economic surveys by the states and the nation have mentioned the importance of wealth creation.
With inputs from VJM Divakar. The writer is the Chief Public Relations Officer to the CM of Telangana. Views expressed are personal