Hyderabad: For any State government that has not only delivered on all its promises, but has gone beyond and introduced several novel welfare initiatives and path-breaking developmental programmes, the timing of election is, in reality, of no consequence. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s decision on Thursday to hold early election in Telangana only reflects the confidence of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government to face the people for a second mandate to continue with its work.
The fact that the caretaker Chief Minister announced the first list of candidates for 105 of the 119 Assembly seats in the State straightaway, in an unprecedented political move, at the press conference at Telangana Bhavan is another pointer to his confidence in the efforts his government had put in to transform the State and in the people to return it to power for a second term.
Marching towards the objective of ‘Golden Telangana,’ the pace at which the State has developed on all fronts in the past four years is enviable, and a trend-setter for others to follow. Be it development programmes like Mission Kakatiya, Mission Bhagiratha and the scores of irrigation projects including the mammoth Kaleshwaram project, or welfare schemes like Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bhima, subsidised sheep distribution, Aasara (bouquet of pension schemes for vulnerable sections of society), Kalyana Laxmi and Shaadi Mubarak, among scores of other welfare initiatives, the TRS government has reached out to every section of society and ensured its economic betterment.
Inclusiveness has been the mantra of the TRS government in the past four years with SCs, STs, Minorities, BCs, Brahmins, enjoying major benefits in the fields of education, medical health, job opportunities, self-employment, establishing small businesses, caste-based rural employment and the likes.
After hiccups in the initial days of State formation, the Chandrashekhar Rao government got down to serious business, set the house in order and sent strong signals across the country that it was set to emerge as a State to reckon with when it comes to development and welfare of the people. The government marked several achievements not seen by any young State in the past and collected several accolades down the lane. From pole-vaulting to the numero uno position in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ to Chandrashekhar Rao winning awards for best Chief Minister in the country, introducing an innovative single-window TS-iPass industrial policy to establishing record number of residential schools for the underprivileged, from farm loan waiver of Rs 17,000 crore to ensuring 24×7 free and quality power to the agriculture sector, the TRS government virtually turned into a show-stopper in the country.
The immediate and biggest achievement perhaps, and one that was most perceptible across the State very early on of the TRS rule, was the energy sector management. Used to massive scheduled and unscheduled power cuts in undivided Andhra Pradesh, the people of Telangana State were in for a pleasant surprise in the first summer itself when they hardly faced any power outages. That the government managed to ensure round-the-clock power supply to all sectors including agriculture, speaks volumes of its commitment to place the State on the path of development at a scorching pace.
On the economic front, the young State has been doing exceedingly well, having established consistently record revenue growth rates in the four years, averaging 17.17 per cent per annum. The cherry in the icing is that the State has already achieved 21.96 per cent growth rate in the first five months of this financial year.
The TRS government had made it abundantly clear that the rural economy and agriculture would be its top focus in its first term, and accordingly, had plunged into constructing irrigation projects and launching welfare measures for the rural-folk. Chandrashekhar Rao announced that his goal was to irrigate one crore acres of agriculture land in the State, which seemed a virtual impossible task at the time he revealed his dream.
Harnessing Godavari water was the answer, and KCR took it upon himself to redesign the Pranahitha-Chevella project into Kaleshwaram, a project that hold hope for millions of farmers in the State, some of whom are already reaping the fruits of the effort. Bhakta Ramadas, Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation project and others took shape to transform the once parched Telangana lands into lush green agriculture fields.
The TRS has repeatedly said that the focus of its second term in office would be on urban infrastructure and development. Minister K T Rama Rao, recently asked what the priorities of the TRS would be in the second term, was quick to point out that the government had channelised all its energies on rural development since 2014 and had launched various schemes for its development. “The focus in the next term would be on urban development across the State,” he had said.
Chandrashekhar Rao’s leadership capabilities and his stature as a man with a vision has been complemented by a dedicated, competent and committed team of Cabinet colleagues, who have risen to the occasion and matched his aspirations and expectations on all fronts.
At the end of the day, what matters most is good governance, ability to feel people’s pulse and sensibility to meet their needs. And the TRS government has all the qualities in ample measure.