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Address the challenges

Highlights

A grand vision and its repeated reiteration are not sufficient. Immediate action on the governance front is the need of the hour

A grand vision and its repeated reiteration are not sufficient. Immediate action on the governance front is the need of the hour

KCR government is in the news everyday. Making grand announcements has become almost a daily feature. These promises cover a wide range of areas including power, irrigation, education, industry, welfare, etc. People of Telangana expect KCR government to fulfil these promises at the earliest. The time has come for serious action to reinvent Telangana, leaving the political rhetoric to future election period. Revival of economic growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector, and making it inclusive is a major challenge before the government as envisaged by the Socio- Economic Outlook, the document presented to the state legislature at the time of budget presentation.

The unsustainable nature of agriculture in Telangana is marked by unabated farmers’ suicides. Even the recent estimates by National Sample Survey reveal Telangana, along with Andhra Pradesh, has the dubious distinction of leading the nation in indebtedness of agricultural households. There are many reasons for this plight of agriculture in the state. Some of them include erratic monsoon, untimely availability of inputs and credit, low productivity, depleting groundwater, inadequate extension and poor irrigation. A comprehensive action is needed to launch a Mission Agriculture.

The state agriculture is constrained by many structural weaknesses such as high employment intensity. The declining public and private investment in agriculture is also a main concern. Productivity gaps exist even in allied sectors, too. For instance, milk production is 234 grams a day per cattle against the national average of 263 grams a day. Allied sectors provide sustainability to farm incomes especially at a time when agriculture is uncertain. Endemic power shortage is the biggest challenge for the state’s economy. The industrial sector is sagging due to power holidays. The industry and services sector is primarily concentrated in and around Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts. There is an urgent need to disperse the sectors to other districts in order to bridge regional imbalances that have a potential to hurt the integrity of the new state.

The human development indices have to be improved with better education, healthcare, assured safe drinking water et al. Improving literacy, achieving stable IMR and MMR remain major challenges. The revenue potential of Telangana is limited as a majority of districts remain economically backward. The tax base is likely to shrink at least in the short and medium term as acknowledged in official documents. This poses a fiscal challenge to the dream of reinventing Telangana. The population of tribals and Muslims constitutes significantly a higher percentage in Telangana as compared to the undivided state. This indicates the importance of achieving social inclusion. The Telangana State is witnessing a high urban growth with urban population constituting 39 per cent of total population in 2011. Thus urban development remains a much bigger challenge. A grand vision and its repeated reiteration are not sufficient. Immediate action on the governance front is the need of the hour.

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