Striking but not scoring
The lack of irrigation facility, which is compounded by the erratic power supply, is the main culprit in making agriculture unviable in the state. But, the problem of irrigation cannot be solved in this short period.
The lack of irrigation facility, which is compounded by the erratic power supply, is the main culprit in making agriculture unviable in the state. But, the problem of irrigation cannot be solved in this short period. The prolonged dry spell led to greater dependence on groundwater which further complicated the power situation. Of course, the mess created in the power sector over the decades cannot be addressed in six months
In a five-day Test match on the Telangana pitch, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has already played for half a day. Still it is not the right time to fully evaluate his government’s performance. But, these six months shall give an idea of the nature and direction of his innings. The TRS government has gone for big hits, often not yielding many runs. The strategy of the team is not yet clear. The ruling party is making the opposition to run amuck. The six month’s rule concludes with a full dose of controversies and confused decisions. But, on some other aspects, the government is yet to begin action.
A spate of farmers’ suicides greets this government. But, none can find fault with this government as it cannot be held totally responsible for the plight of peasantry. The phenomenon of farmers’ suicides is a culmination of policies that made agriculture unsustainable. But, KCR government certainly deserves criticism for its failure to acknowledge that there exists a problem. In fact, the ruling party should have converted this threat into an opportunity by squarely blaming the previous governments whose policies resulted in such a pathetic scenario. Instead, the government took an intransigent view of the problem thus inviting strong criticism.
The lack of irrigation facility, which is compounded by the erratic power supply, is the main culprit in making the agriculture unviable in the state. But, the problem of irrigation cannot be met in this short period. The prolonged dry spell led to the increased dependence on ground water which further complicated the power situation. Of course, the mess created in the power sector over the decades cannot be addressed in six months. But, the power sector management is completely chaotic. There is no minister exclusively looking this key portfolio. Power sector does not even have fulltime officials.
The government is yet to crystallize a concrete long-term action plan that gives confidence to the people so that the state would come out of the power woes soon. But, the government continues to make big announcements in the power sector. These dreams and plans cannot satisfy the people who are facing acute power crisis. But however, KCR government allocated thousand crores towards investment in State GENCO. But, much more commitment is needed in this sector which is vital for the State economy. The widening revenue gap haunts the State power sector which creates a possibility for a massive power tariff hike in the next fiscal. The government will have to face the twin challenges of power cuts and high tariff.
The government is on a slippery wicket when it comes to the implementation of welfare schemes. The distribution of pensions is caught in the vertex of confusing software, absence of coordination among various agencies, frequent change of guidelines and other issues. The confusion is further mounted by political haste. Leadership failure is quite visible here. Meanwhile, several welfare schemes are still a non-starter. The halfhearted implementation of land for the Dalits scheme makes it a perennial one. The KG to PG free education scheme is still to be conceived. The housing scheme still eludes the poor. The FAST scheme is still incomprehensible.
The government launched the ambitious ‘Mission Kakatiya’ to revive nearly 45,000 tanks across the state. Elaborate plans are made. Effective implementation of this would bring laurels to the government. But, the mission would be accomplished only if corruption is prevented.
The universities, which once were the cradles of movement that helped the TRS to win, are now becoming centres of protest. The delay in recruitment for over one lakh government posts is the reason for their heart burn. The government is incurring the wrath of thousands of outsourced employees who are now denied any job security as the government claims that its promise is only for contract employees.
Several sections of government employees are disgruntled for different reasons. The permanent employees are concerned over the delay in implementation of Pay Revision. The Anganwadi and other such workers stormed the streets of state capital during the Assembly session demanding better wages. Thus, the six months of KCR rule has certainly attempted to address many issues rocking the state. But, discontent is brewing among many sections of society. Still, the people hope for better things to come under this dispensation. But, skepticism is growing. All this is clouded by political controversies often centered around disputes with Andhra Pradesh. The political consolidation of the ruling party helps it to bulldoze the opposition. But, unless the governance delivers tangibles to people the simmering discontent can become a political challenge. One can only hope that the Telangana government realizes this at the earliest.