Attempting to live up to its poll promises, the TRS cabinet on Wednesday cleared several welfare schemes including farm loan waiver, service regularization of contract employees, farmland distribution for the landless Dalit families, and enhancement of pay scales for the state employees on par with the central scales.
However, the marathon cabinet meeting that went on for over seven hours from 3pm, did not consider chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s pet scheme to provide two-bed room house for the poor. Even free education from KG to PG and 12 per cent reservation for Muslims, which had been highlighted in the TRS election manifesto, did not find place in the 42-point agenda of the cabinet meeting.
“We will consider these schemes in due course because we cannot implement all the schemes at one go,” KCR said, at the media briefing late in the night. “We are committed to fulfill all the promises we made. But, step by step,” he added.
In a significant departure from the social welfare schemes of the previous regimes, the TRS government scrapped fee reimbursement scheme for poor students. In its place, the government announced a new scheme FAST (financial assistance to Telangana students) which envisages taking care of financial needs of poor students and those from backward classes.
“The fee reimbursement scheme has turned out to be a scam. Even housing schemes, irrigation projects such as Jalayagnam have been converted into money-making tools by the corrupt. We don’t want to continue such schemes. FAST, the scheme which is being introduced by the first Telangana government, will take care of the financial needs of the students,” said the CM.
While declining to give details of the scheme, the CM said the cabinet had asked the departments of education and finance to work on the guidelines. However, he was categorical when he said, “All our schemes are meant for Telangana people only. We are not responsible for the welfare of the Seemandhra students.”
Since KCR had promised that his government would support the families of Telangana martyrs, the cabinet cleared a proposal to grant an ex gratia of Rs 10 lakh to each of the families whose members sacrificed their lives for the cause of Telangana. “A member from each family will get a government job. If the kin are landless farmers, then the family will get three acres of farmland,” he said.
The CM said the cabinet had cleared the farm loan waiver scheme, and crop loan on gold loan upto Rs. 1 lakh would be waived. Old age pension has been enhanced to Rs 1,000. Widows and physically-challenged will get Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 a month respectively. The government would distribute cards to the beneficiaries in the period between Dasara and Diwali, KCR said.