Telangana will hit the road to prosperity soon
Interview of The Week: Telangana Will Hit The Road to Prosperity Soon. Now, for the first time ever, India has a strong government whose priority is...
Now, for the first time ever, India has a strong government whose priority is growth. Narendra Modi, who leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has won a spectacular victory on the strength of a promise to make India’s economy strong… We wish him every success. An Indian growth miracle would be a great thing not just for Indians, but also for the world
You were never actively into politics and are suddenly made the Deputy Chief Minister of the newly formed State. Do you think you will do justice to the position?
I joined TRS in 2001.Like KCR, my agenda was separate Telangana State. I was away from the media and my focus was to achieve separate statehood silently. The human cost, in terms of frustrated, under-employed, ill-educated, unhealthy and hungry people, has been immense in Telangana and as a Deputy CM, I will strive to solve these problems.
The revenue of the State is in doldrums. How much time will it take to stabilise?
My first job is to help stabilise the fragile economy. We have to sort out the government’s finances, prune subsidies and widen the tax base. We will have to make sweeping land reforms, improve coal and electricity supply and make Telangana more of a single market, not just by improving roads and the like, but also by cutting redtape that Balkanises the economy. The process may take six months to a year to stabilise. With a strong government committed to ushering in reforms and growth and ensuring overall growth, Telangana has the best chance of hitting the road to greater prosperity.
You belong to the Muslim community. Will you do justice to the people of other communities as well?
Though I am born in the Muslim community, I practise secularism. In fact, the MIM wanted me to join it, but I wanted to fight for my Telangana brothers. Telangana region, from the Quli Qutub Shahi rule to the seventh Nizam, had a truly secular culture. Even Mahatma Gandhi praised the way Hindus and Muslims lived together here. That is the beauty and greatness of Telangana.
Two days back a tribal girl had an eye injury, and within 24 hours I arranged money from the CM Relief Fund and helped her get operated. Most of the people who are sitting in my cabin are Christians. People from all communities approach me for help and guidance.
Stamps and registration department is steeped in corruption. How do you curb this menace?
We have to work towards this. First, a separate office building where all documents will be kept in big lockers. All records will be computerised. A major share of the revenue (55-60%) through property registrations comes mainly from Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts. Telangana is expected to earn a revenue of Rs 2,500 crore per year from the 114 sub-registrar offices in the 10 districts of Telangana.
The property registrations may increase in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts now. There was a dip in the registrations in the past one year due to uncertainty over the separate state agitation. We are planning to have customer care executives in the registrar offices and a helpline which will help the individuals meet the registrar by appointment through helpline. The agents who make huge money will be removed, thus saving a lot of money for the buyer and the seller.
12% quota for Muslims in jobs and education is the promise of Chief minister KCR. Do you justify this; what about other communities?
Muslims remain backward in all spheres of life though all political parties talk big about their welfare. Successive governments in Andhra Pradesh never provided adequate funds for the Muslim welfare and the lands belonging to Waqf Board in Hyderabad have been encroached upon. Like in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, let there be reservations for Muslims in Telangana, too.
Will this proposal pass the scrutiny of law?
When I joined the TRS, people said Telangana formation was akin to sun rising in the west. Today Telangana is a reality. The reservations for Muslims will also come about in a similar way.
Why are relations with your neighbour State CM Chandrababu Naidu so hostile?
Chandrababu Naidu is not a well-wisher of the people of Telangana. He wants to sit in Andhra Pradesh and rule us. That is why our CM KCR is being so harsh.
What is your take on the Land Acquisition Bill?
Land acquisition will be a huge challenge once the Bill is finalised. There will be so much speculation that there would be any price control, which will push up property prices. “Consent clause should be removed from PPP projects, the definition of the affected family needs to be re-examined. Clause on return of unutilised land to original owners should also be deleted.
How do you view Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister?
Now, for the first time ever, India has a strong government whose priority is growth. Narendra Modi, who leads the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has won a spectacular victory on the strength of a promise to make India’s economy strong. We have not endorsed him, because we believe that he has not atoned sufficiently for the massacre of Muslims that took place in Gujarat when he was the Chief Minister. We wish him every success. An Indian growth miracle would be a great thing not just for Indians, but also for the world.