The TRS Government of the newly-formed Telangana state under K Chandrasekhar Rao has completed three months in office. It is too early to assess the performance of the maiden government.
Suffice to say that despite facing teething troubles, the TRS regime has shown earnestness to resolve the issues faced by the state and formulate plans to bring development and prosperity to the people.
The first challenge that Telangana faces is the truant monsoon that has the potential to adversely affect the kharif crop, thereby putting strain on the government’s finances. Infrastructural bottlenecks due to severe power shortage are also adding to the woes of the people. The bureaucracy is yet to become fully functional as the final allotment of All India Service (IAS, IPS and IFS) officers and the division of the state-level staff is pending. The state’s financial position is precarious, as the tax flow has not gained momentum.
The TRS government unveiled its vision for Telangana and its people through the governor’s address to the state legislature in the maiden session in June this year.
While focusing on welfare schemes, particularly for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, backward classes, minorities, women and disabled persons, the government has also taken up several exercises to ensure that the schemes are not misused, one of the and their benefits are not cornered by the undeserving.
Government is spending thousands of crores on welfare schemes such as scholarships and fee reimbursement, pensions for senior citizens, widows and disabled, Rs one a kg rice scheme, free power for farmers, Arogyasri, Deepam programme and subsidized housing among others.
All schemes are meant for the below-the-poverty line (BPL) families with varied criteria of income ceiling and other conditionalities. However, countless ineligible persons have been availing the said benefits.
The TRS government has decided to continue all the welfare schemes, besides introducing a few new ones, by focusing on the delivery mechanism. The quantum of assistance under pension schemes is being raised.
The overall allocations for SCs, STs, BCs and minorities are being raised to Rs 20,000 crore per annum over a five-year period. Government has promised to hike reservations for Muslims and the scheduled tribes to 12 percent each, in keeping with their proportion to the total population of the state.
Since the scholarships and fees reimbursement schemes constitute a big chunk of the allocations earmarked for the SCs, STs, BCs and minorities, the government has sought to modify the scheme to weed out undeserving’ beneficiaries and participating colleges on the one hand and focus on “Telangana sons-of-the-soil” on the other.
Although lakhs of people from other regions and states settled in Telangana since 58 years raised concerns over the nativity issue, it has raised hopes among the natives of Telangana that they would get attention now.
There are numerous promises that the TRS has made in its election manifesto. As the party which formed the first government of the new state, it has both tremendous responsibility and opportunity to translate its assurances into action.
People are eager to see implementation of its promise of free education from KG to PG. However, long-term plans such as making Telangana a power surplus state and bringing irrigation waters to each of the 100-odd assembly segments in the rural areas are promises that may take longer to fructify.
Over the last three months, KCR and his cabinet colleagues have thoroughly reviewed the performance of various departments and schemes and also come up with several announcements.
Apart from unveiling measures to give a fillip to the agriculture sector through focus on creation of irrigation facilities, the government has contemplated mega plans to provide a boost to industry, infrastructure and services sectors, besides making Hyderabad a truly global city. All the grandiose plans require lakhs of crores over the next 15 to 20 years to achieve “Bangaru Telangana.”
(The writer is an MLC and a journalist)