Governance with a difference
Comprehensive development and welfare strategy have paved a bright path ahead for Telangana.
Let me, as Chief Public Relations Officer to the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao since 19th of June 2014, present a concise first-hand account of the just completed 50 months tenure in office of KCR with his apex team. After successfully spearheading the struggle and achieving Telangana as the 29th state of Indian Union, he went on to become its first Chief Minister. Since coming to power on June 2, 2014, the CM has focused on governance with a difference and has left no stone unturned in defining, designing, and delivering the schemes that the state and its people required.
I remember the day (June 17, 2014), just two days before I officially assumed charge as CPRO to CM, when the CM presided over an informal marathon meeting lasting for more than eight hours from afternoon till late in the evening, a fortnight after KCR was sworn in as CM. He presented his vision of the state, emphasising constantly the words - Telangana needs to be reinvented and reoriented.
During that meeting, CM presented his vision on several aspects that the state would be facing and the process to deal with them. All subjects were covered such as Telangana budget and the funds flow; sources of income; resource mobilisation; agriculture loan waiver; fee reimbursement; KG to PG free and compulsory education; irrigation projects as a priority item; drinking water project; power projects and power supply without cuts; two-bedroom housing for poor; massive employment program; single window industrial policy; police reforms; brand image of Hyderabad city; massive and schematic plantation; our Village and our Planning; land purchase scheme for Dalits, etc., among others.
Subsequently and from time to time, for taking forward his vision, CM held a series of review meetings, touching every aspect of development as well as the welfare of the state and its people. CM used to say, time and again, that the present Telangana state had never existed before in this form and has to be viewed as a new state and therefore, needs a historical beginning. That is how several schemes were meticulously planned and designed by the CM with his personal touch.
He had been abroad only twice, once to Singapore and a second time to China, to attract foreign investments. On the invitation, he participated in the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2015 held in Dalian, China.
The state during the last 50 months recorded remarkable growth in a very short time since it achieved separate statehood. Today it has become a role model state for development and welfare to the entire country. Every sector that suffered very badly during the erstwhile united rule has been rejuvenated. The people-centric development designs and plans extended a helping hand to poor, vulnerable, and downtrodden individuals. Welfare measures benefited the have-nots and disadvantaged immensely. As envisioned the state has been reinventing and reorienting itself, and in the process contributing in the National Development.
KCR Government firmly initiated steps to overcome the agrarian crisis that existed at the formation of state and strengthened agriculture sector, thereby sparking self-confidence in the farmer. Waiver of Rs 17,000 crore agricultural loans benefitting 35.29 lakh farmers, payment of input subsidies, waiving of transport tax on the agriculture tractors, increasing the amount of compensation to the members of the bereaved farmer families who committed suicide to Rs 6 lakh, procurement and availability of fertilizers and seeds well in advance, and stringent steps against those who supply spurious fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds; were some of the measures initiated and implemented by KCR Government.
Telangana is the one and the only state in the country which supplies free of cost power for 24 hours to the farmers from First of January, 2018. Those who cursed that Telangana will plunge into darkness if the state is formed had to swallow their words. In a short period from now, Telangana will become a power surplus state.
To make the farmers aware of the strength of unity, Rythu Samanvaya Samithis (Farmers Coordination Committees) were formed. These committees help the farmer right from seeding to obtaining support price for their product at every stage. Reservations have been introduced in market committees enabling individuals belonging to SC, ST, and BC alongside women in becoming chairman of the market committees.
For an everlasting permanent solution to the land disputes and for maintaining the land records with utmost transparency, State Government had done a comprehensive cleansing of land records. The efforts of Government resulted in getting clarity about rights of the land ownership in case of 94 per cent of the lands in the state. The Government also initiated comprehensive reforms to achieve cent per cent transparency in the land registration system for which a Dharani website has been designed.
'RYTHU BANDHU', aiming at investment support to agriculture, is being implemented. Through this scheme every farmer owning a land gets Rs. 4000 per acre per season for both the seasons amounting to Rs. 8000. The Government has distributed cheques worth Rs. 5,111 crores for the first crop to 49,49,000 farmers. It is for the first time in the history of the country that distribution of money to the farmers took place on such a large-scale.
The Government started implementing, through the Life Insurance Corporation of India from August 15, 2018, the Rythu Bhima scheme aiming at paying Rs. 5 lakh insurance amount to the members of the bereaved farmer's family within 10 days of the death to create confidence in the family.
KCR immediately after the formation of Telangana State focused mainly on irrigation sector to bring one crore acres under irrigation. The faulty project designs prepared by the erstwhile rulers have been redesigned as per the suggestions made by experts. The Kaleshwaram, Palamoor-Rangareddy, and Seetharama projects are all being constructed on a fast-track basis. Several tanks that were destroyed during erstwhile rule have been revitalized and rejuvenated through Mission Kakatiya.
The Government has decided to provide financial support to the hereditary professions and encourage them so that the rural economy is rejuvenated. A programme to distribute sheep to Golla and Kuruma castes on 75% subsidy is in implementation. The government started a program to distribute Milch Animals to dairy farmers to encourage dairy industry in the state with each unit costing Rs 80,000. The government has also been supplying fish seed and prawn seed to fishermen to encourage fish farming on a large scale. To change and better the living conditions of handloom and power loom workers, the Telangana government has taken special care and introduced several schemes.
Schemes for Naayi Brahmins, Rajakas, Toddy tappers besides establishing MBC corporation are some more benefits to BCs. The government has also decided to provide financial assistance for self-employment with 100% subsidy to BCs to undertake any activity of their choice and interest delinking with the banks.
The Government has been aiming poverty alleviation as a basic objective. Aasara Pensions, Ration rice, Kalyana Lakshmi, etc., schemes are made applicable to all the poor people of all upper castes.
As part of nearly 40 welfare schemes with over Rs. 40,000 crore funds, Government has been giving Aasara Pensions to the old age people, widows, toddy tappers, handloom, beedi workers, aids patients, differently abled, old age poor artists, single women, and filaria affected patients. Minimum life security is provided to all the helpless individuals. At the rate of 6 kilos for an individual, without any limitation irrespective of the numbers in the family, rice at one rupee per kilo is being given. Food with fine rice is given in schools and hostels.
The government implements Kalyana Lakshmi and Shaadi Mubarak schemes to provide financial assistance of Rs. 1,00116 for the marriage of poor girl child. For foreign education Rs. 20 lakhs as overseas scholarships to SC, ST, BC, Minorities as well as those who belong to economically backward classes are been given.
For the welfare of SCs and STs, the government has enacted special SC, ST Pragathi Fund Act and has been implementing effectively. The funds are allocated and spent in the ratio of SC, STs in the population. The Act provides for spending the funds allotted for SC, STs exclusively to them and also for transferring the unspent balance of a particular year to the following year. Distribution of three acres of land to the Dalits is implemented in Telangana, which is not done anywhere in the country. The Government has provided bore well, motor, power connection as well as investment support for the crop on this land.
For the welfare of minorities and their development, 206 residential schools; remuneration to Imams and Mauzams, new clothes to minorities during Ramzan iftar parties, Christmas parties; construction of Islamic Centre, IT park etc., have been done.
For the welfare of women, schemes such as Kalyan Laxmi, Shaadi-Mubarak, KCR Kits, SHE Teams, Arogya Laxmi, Ammavodi, etc., are being implemented. Salaries of Anganwadi workers have been substantially increased. Salaries and remunerations of Home Guards, IKP, MGNREGA and SERP staff with 108 employees and 104 employees respectively, VROs, VAOs, ANMs, Contract and outsourcing staff, part-time lecturers, sanitation staff working in GHMC, etc., are increased substantially.
Mission Bhagiratha aiming at the supply of purified and treated drinking water to each and every family's doorstep has been completed with more than 19,000 habitations getting water supply. Health and medical facilities have been improved in such a way that people started gaining confidence in government hospitals rather than private counterparts. Diagnostic facilities are created across the state. Basthi clinics have been established in Hyderabad to bring medical facilities closer to the common man. Four new medical colleges have been started. Poor pregnant women are covered under KCR kits scheme which compensates their wage loss.
As part of KG to PG education system in addition to the existing 296 residential schools, 542 more institutions have been established. 119 more residential schools one in each assembly segment exclusively for BCs will come-up from next academic year. Through the largest green cover Telangana Ku Haritha Haram so far 82 crores of saplings were planted all over the state. As part of the reorganisation of 31 districts, 69 Revenue Divisions, and 584 Mandals have been made. The number of Gram panchayats has been increased to 12,751 which includes Girijan Thandas and Lambadi Gudems. The new zonal system would take shape shortly with seven zones and two multi-zones.
Thanks to the single window industrial policy 7,679 industries with Rs 1,32,000 crores investment providing employment to 8.37 lakhs have been started out of which 5,570 have gone into production. In IT development, in law and order front, in the case of Highways, the state's progress card is simply fantastic. Thus, comprehensive achievement in all fronts has been achieved by KCR in its fifty months of power. It is truly governance with a difference.
(The author is Chief Public Relations Officer to Chief Minister of Telangana. Views expressed are strictly personal)