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Bangaru Telangana for all

Just forty two months after its formation, Telangana State has begun scripting an epochal scale of change. The youngest State of India has proven that an unwavering determination of the political leadership can bring about a positive change – a change that no other State in India is witnessing right now.

For a State that came into being three-and-half years ago, ushering in and also managing such a massive scale of change in every sphere is the stuff that would make its way into the text books of management theories. Telangana, in short, is the exemplar of a development model, easily replicable anywhere in India.

The transition from Change seekers to Change makers did not take long for Telangana

The rapid strides Telangana is making under the leadership of Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao can be seen on various fronts. Be it the administrative set up or the welfare schemes or taking a fresh look at the efficacy of the administrative processes, which none dared even to question, much the less change them…the change is in every sphere of governance.

And the best part of the change is that different sections of society have begun to experience the benefits. The transition from Change seekers to Change makers did not take long for Telangana. And let’s take a look at how this seemingly impossible task was achieved by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) Government. The change management began with redefining the goals in different spheres – Infrastructure, Welfare and Administrative.

Focus shifts on Infrastructure:

What Telangana has achieved in respect of infrastructure development in different spheres is phenomenal. With simultaneous development plans put in place and implemented in different sectors, the impact of infrastructure improvement has begun to show with the quality of life improving in rural and urban areas too. The right mix of initiatives taken up in rural as well as urban areas has paved way for equitable development.

With the boldest initiative of re-engineering the irrigation projects destined to change the face of Telangana with thousands of acres of parched land being converted into fertile arable lands very shortly, the agriculture sector is poised to receive a fillip. The massive flagship schemes like the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme, Mission Kakatiya, Mission Bhagiratha are in advanced stages of completion and are bound to revitalize the rural economy as abundant irrigation facilities coming into use would change the face of Telangana certainly.

The change management began with redefining the goals in different spheres – Infrastructure, Welfare and Administrative

Not just with irrigation facilities, but other initiatives like extension of financial assistance of Rs 8,000 per acre per year to each farmer would enable him to buy farm inputs without falling prey to the machinations of the local money lenders. The other measures to protect and nurture caste-based professions by way of distributing sheep or intensified focus on fish farming, extending financial assistance to barbers and washermen’s community are expected to revitalize the rural economy.

The other notable achievement, what Telangana could achieve, was to ensure uninterrupted power supply immediately after the State coming into existence. For the industrialists and common people who got used to prolonged power cuts and power holidays, supply of 24X7 power supply is nothing short of a miracle, ably managed by the TS Transco and Genco. With the farming sector now poised to get 24X7 quality power supply from January 1, Telangana would achieve the distinction of being one among the very few States in India to do so. The gargantuan shift in the situation from being a power-starved state to a power surplus state with power generation capability going up, Telangana has come a long way.

The impact of infrastructure improvement has begun to show with the quality of life improving in rural and urban areas too

Before putting in place various developmental initiatives to give a solid thrust to the agriculture sector, the State government delivered on its promise of waiver of farms loans of up to Rs one lakh. At the time of bifurcation, the debt-ridden farmers in Telangana region were passing through a critical stage, often resorting to suicides on account of failed crops coupled with debt burden. The loan waiver, completed in four installments, reversed the trend.

The other significant achievement of TRS government is in respect of health and education sectors. While corporatisation of these two sectors is seen as a natural phenomenon in other States, Telangana government has managed to reverse the situation. True to the principle of a welfare State, Telangana has managed to reclaim its responsibility of providing quality healthcare and education to its citizens through a variety of measures. These efforts have led to a positive change in societal perception of these governmental institutions and it is not a tall claim if one said people now vie to get admission into government-run schools and hospitals.

Road as an engine of growth is a known concept, but with a single flaw. If roads are laid only for the sake of laying roads, such roads would be useful only to help the MNCs to push their products into the interior areas. One had seen these situations hitherto with bottled water being made available in most interior places because of the road connectivity, thereby helping the MNCs, but the local populace not being able to use the road for their economic growth.

To a large extent, Telangana, the youngest State of India, has managed to reverse this situation with greater focus being laid on empowering those living in interior places to improve their economic conditions with various welfare schemes like Aasara and effective implementation of Public Distribution System (PDS).

Telangana’s industrial policy has been trailblazer in the country. The new TS-iPass system ensuring faster clearances had a two-fold impact. More and more industries are coming to Telangana and the State is being projected as the destination for investments because of the conducive atmosphere, corruption-free facilitation for setting up industries, quality power supply, good transport facilities and most importantly a solid maintenance of law and order.

The gargantuan shift in the situation from being a power-starved state to a power-surplus one is noteworthy

All these initiatives launched by the government earned the State the top spot in the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ (EoDB) index developed by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the World Bank. The fact that the State pole-vaulted to the numero uno position from 13th rank in 2015-16 speaks volumes of the rapid strides it had made in promoting industry.

With entire Telangana, including its capital as also the tier-two and tier-three towns being free of any organized crime syndicates, unlike the other metropolitan cities, an effective law and order machinery has helped the State and its cities and towns being billed as the safest places to live. This was not without careful planning of the State government. Perhaps, Telangana is the only State in the country to have invested massive amounts in developing infrastructure for law enforcement agencies. Hitherto, the successive governments used to spend heavy amounts only for military purposes like procuring better weapons or security equipment.

Another notable achievement of Telangana has been its ability to develop an ecosystem where entrepreneurship and start-up culture is encouraged. In a short span of three years, Telangana has attracted the bellwether companies to set shop and many more are in the pipeline too.

A true welfare state indeed:

Telangana has carved itself a niche among other States with its novel welfare schemes. The Aasara pensions (seven types of pensions) have indeed helped the downtrodden and the poor to live with some dignity as the Government provided them money to take care of their expenses. The effective maintenance of the PDS where the poor can buy rice at Re one a kg upto six kg per person has ensured that the basic needs are taken care of by the Government – the concept of a welfare State being fulfilled to the maximum extent.

The biggest initiative was to form more number of districts

The success of residential educational institutions where education is perhaps better than the corporate schools, the KG to PG free education, welfare schemes like Kalyana Laxmi, Shaadi Mubarak in which women getting married get a cash of Rs 50,000, the KCR kits for the newly born and a host of other welfare schemes have made Telangana a truly welfare oriented state in the last three years.

Tackling the administrative thrombosis

The administrative mechanism, which was characteristically reactive in nature was tasked to be proactive, not just by a mere dictum. It was not just the goal being set, but relevant decisions were also taken to ensure that the proactivity could be encouraged. Undoubtedly, the biggest initiative was to form more number of districts. The government took a quick decision and increased the number of districts from ten to 31.

Even as the initiative was met with smirks and raised eyebrows, the government moved with alacrity to sanction administrative posts and take up construction of integrated complexes housing all departments of the government. Essentially, the institution of collectorates had become almost defunct, with district collectors barely managing to convene daily meetings to review the multifarious responsibilities they were vested with. The collectors were engrossed in rushing from one meeting to another ostensibly to implement various governmental schemes, but everyone missed the crucial component of governance – that of redressing grievances of the vast populace.

Telangana has managed to reclaim its responsibility of providing quality healthcare and education to its citizens

But with one stroke this issue was addressed with formation of more number of districts, where district collectors or unit heads of different departments being able to focus more on responding to the felt needs of people and interacting with them, rather than merely being supervisors of schemes.

On the political front too, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi has been consolidating on its already vast cadre base. The popularity of the Chief Minister and the pay-off from good governance was reflected in several by-elections to Assembly seats, in local bodies’ elections as well as the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation polls, where the party made a strong debut.

The biggest challenge for the government, no doubt, is to ensure a paradigm shift in the mentality of the bureaucrat that he or she is meant to serve and not to rule and to a large extent efforts have begun in this direction too.

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from Telangana – Telangana Today

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