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Rich in praise, short on execution

Rich in praise, short on execution
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The picture looked rosy from any angle that one saw it. The Centre never hesitated to shower lavish praises on the Telangana government-'s flagship...

The picture looked rosy from any angle that one saw it. The Centre never hesitated to shower lavish praises on the Telangana government's flagship programmes like Mission Bhageeratha, Mission Kakatiya, Haritha Haaram and residential schools for weaker sections.

The orchestration was joined by several Union Ministers, who went to the extent of stating that the schemes were worthy of emulation by all State governments. However, months later, it seems like all those were mere lip-service and the verbose was intended to please the bosses of the country’s newest State.

This stands exposed when one were to take into consideration that allocation of funds in the Union Budget. Telangana State has been given a raw deal, as compared to Andhra Pradesh, where the government is an ally of the NDA-led Union Government.

The State Cabinet at its recent meeting expressed its displeasure that the Centre had not given any clarity about implementing the promises made in the AP State Re-Organisation Act 2014.

What is worse is that there has been no mention about sanctioning of AIIMS to Telangana. If there are no substantial allocations to the State then it would become near impossible to carry forward the flagship programmes, which are at various stages of execution. The fate of the new proposals is anybody’s guess.

However, the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao seems to have taken a strategic decision. He has decided to take up the issue with the Centre and explain about the State’s precarious financial situation.

In fact, he was planning to have a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after submitting a memorandum on the issue of SC categorization on Monday besides making a presentation on how there has been a drastic fall in the State revenues.

Rao was to explain the measures taken to promote cashless economy as suggested by the Centre. The Chief Minister had prepared a report explaining how digital transactions have been taken up in nearly 90 villages.

KCR had planned to stay in the national capital till Wednesday and meet the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to explain about the increased financial burden on the state government since November 8 and how it has been struggling to combat the cash crunch.

However, as the meeting with Prime Minister has been postponed, the Chief Minister wants to meet Jaitley and seek additional funds for programmes like Mission Kakatiya, Mission Bhagiratha and two bed room housing schemes.

Unless the State gets clarity on what it would get from the Centre, making allocations for these schemes under the state budget 2017-18 would be an arduous task.

The state government would make a presentation to the union ministers about the activities of departments like Health and Medical, Roads and Buildings, Women Development and Child Welfare, Home, BC, SC, ST and Minority Welfare departments and seek additional funds in view of increase in the expenditure for implementing the schemes.

In the meantime, the fledgling opposition parties have got a stick to beat the government with. The Telangana Pradesh Congress party feels that despite defending demonetisation better than the Prime Minister himself, the State could not get any benefits.

It has already started a campaign saying that the State Government had been making several promises, which raised the bar of expectations of the people but when it came to delivery, the government had failed miserably.

Analysts, though, feel that it would not be that easy for the opposition to gain lost ground. The government, according to indications, is working out several schemes to revive the local economy and come up with programmes specific to communities. As a consequence, sheep-rearing and fisheries are set for a welcome shot in the arm.

As the artisans from Jangoan-Pembarthy and the filigree artists from Karimnagar are world famous for their artistic skills, the government proposes to identify and encourage them. The opposition will have to wait for another year before they could try and take on the government if such schemes are incorporated in the State Budget.

BY V RAMU SARMA

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