Padayatra that changed the course of Andhra Pradesh
New Delhi: Charting a different course, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has taken the first step three years ago and walked straight into the hearts of people lending his shoulder and a patient ear as they poured their woes and his acumen has manifested in election promises that were translated into reality after he assumed office in the summer of 2019.
Starting on November 6, 2017 from YSR Ghat at Idupulapaya to the northeastern tip of Ichchapuram, the Praja Sankalpa Yatra was a roaring success with milling crowds joining chorus and asking for a change. The young leader had logged 3,648 km in a space of 341 days covering 134 assembly constituencies and crossing milestones one after the other and scaling the popularity chart which has reflected in the thunderous mandate of 151 seats in the 175-member State Assembly.
While some people create history others walk into history as the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government has shown the difference in administration in its 17 months of governance. The stark contrast between the previous dispensation and the present government is very much in the open and too glaring to ignore. It is the spirit of the Padayatra that has brought in revolutionary changes in the State in the fields of education, agriculture, medicare, providing social, economic and political empowerment to weaker sections and women and a social welfare delivery system was put in place in the form of Village and Ward Secretariats.
The wrinkles of helplessness among the aged, the despair and distress among farmers and women self help groups, the defeatism among the youth, worried students who were denied certificates as the fees was not reimbursed, the parents slipping down the whirlpool of indebtedness for educating their children, medicare and unfavourable agriculture operations were the pathetic pictures of the past.
That scenario was changed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy with his welfare schemes and the rural landscape has vastly bloomed. Gone are the days when the aged and disabled had to travel to the disbursing office, stand in a queue and take the pension of Rs 1,000. Now the village volunteer comes home calling on first day of every month in the morning and delivers the pension amount of Rs 2,250.
Now, people need not run from pillar to post to get social documents, like birth certificate, ration card and the like. For the delivery of all social benefits, one village secretariat was set up for a population of every 2,000 persons ushering in Gram Swaraj. The secretariats provide over 500 types of services and about ten to twelve locals are employed with each volunteer looking after 50 houses. This initiative provides employment as well as services under one roof in the same village.
Farmer welfare has been on the priority. From providing quality seeds and other inputs to marketing of their agriculture produce, Rythu Bharosa Kendras(RBKs) were set up across the State to take care of the needs of farmers. Rythu Bharosa is being given at Rs 13,500 per family annually and MSP was announced to all crops including perishable goods. A Market Stabilisation Fund with Rs 3,000 crores was set up to check price fluctuations. Such a thought has stemmed from the feedback YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has received during his odyssey where farmers were seen in distress.
Moved by the sick hospitals and dilapidated schools, he has brought in Nadu Nedu in schools and hospitals. They would be revamped, refurbished and upgraded and get a corporate look.
On the Education front, sweeping changes were brought in by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has seen the plight of poor children who did not have a level playfield. He has introduced Vidya Kanuka which provides the attire and study material matching with those going to corporate schools and has introduced English medium from primary level. From Amma Vodi, Vidya Kanuka, Goru Muddha taking care of school education to the Vidya Devena and Vasati Deevena for college and professional courses followed by Skill Development courses, they all reflect the vision of the Chief Minister.
On medicare, the situation has drastically changed. Aargoyasri got a new lease of life with the flagging off of a fleet of 1200 ambulances of 104 and 108 on a single day. The number of ailments was up by 1,000 and all medical treatments more than Rs 5 lakhs were brought under its cover. Pensions are being given to people with chronic diseases besides post hospitalization allowance. The scope and extent of Aarogyasri was widened and Covid was also brought under Aarogyasri.
Sampoorna Poshana provides nutritious food for pregnant and lactating mothers and children going to Anganwadis which were converted to Pre Primary Classes, Cheyutha provides Rs 18,750 to women in the age group of 45 to 60 years belonging to SC, ST, BC and Minorities. Asara scheme benefits nearly 90 lakh women. The tie-up with major companies like Amul, P&G, Reliance and others have opened up the doors of opportunities to entrepreneurs which is an example for the economic empowerment of women. The Direct Cash Transfer system has weeded out middlemen and rooted out corruption from the system.
Social empowerment has been in its full flow with 50 per cent reservations to weaker sections in Agriculture Marketing Committees, Temple Boards and half of the post being reserved to women in nominated posts and nominated works. The 70 per cent reservation to locals in jobs and setting up of BC Corporations did not come out of any agitations but it has come into being with the vision of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who undertook the Praja Sankalpa Yatra mass contact programme.
About 90 per cent of the poll promises were fulfilled in the first year itself.
Amma Vodi , YSR Asara, YSR Cheyutha, YSR Pension Kanuka, Jagananna Goru Muddha, YSR Law Nestham, YSR Rythu Bharosa, YSR Nethanna Nestham, YSR Matsakara Bharosa, YSR Vahana Mitra, Jagananna Vidya Deevena, Jagananna Vasati Deevena, Housing for poor, Zero interest loans, Nadu Nedu in schools and hospitals, YSR Kanti Velugu, YSR Sampoorna Poshna, Jagannna Vidya Kanuka, widening the scope and coverage of YSR Aarogyasri were some of the welfare schemes that came out from the interaction with people during the Padayatra and his vision.
Those who keep their promises are always remembered and YS Jagam Mohan Reddy takes a place of pride in the list of such leaders.