Way forward for Bangaru Telangana
Telangana, youngest State in Union of India, was a result of a prolonged struggle by people cutting across sections for a new life of hopes and aspirations.
Telangana, youngest State in the Union of India, was a result of a prolonged struggle by people cutting across sections for a new life of hopes and aspirations. The actively participated genesis for the movement was a deliberate neglect of Telangana in the combined State of Andhra Pradesh in water, finances, jobs, business opportunities, political process (popularly known as Neellu, Nidulu, Niyamakalu).
It is an established fact that surplus budgetary resources from Telangana were diverted for expenditure in other regions of the combined State of Andhra Pradesh. The two committees appointed by the erstwhile Government of Andhra Pradesh, namely, K. Lalit and Justice V. Bhargava committee to determine the Telangana surpluses. It is estimated by noted economist, Shri CH. Hanumantha Rao that the overall budgetary surpluses of Telangana during 1956 to 1969 were about 85.83 crore, though the present value of this is much more in terms of economic loss, loss of several direct and indirect benefits in terms of income, employment and public revenues. Transfer of surplus budgetary resources continued although the years causing low public investment in socio-economic development, resulting in an inheritance of a lopsided economy.
Vision of the Government: Building a 'Bangaru Telangana'
The key challenge for the State is to create an enabling political, social, and economic environment which promotes investment, growth and human development. The formation of the State is a golden political opportunity to undo many of the disoriented policies and to introduce reforms for a participative, accountable, and a development-oriented governance structure. The present Government visions not only to undo the past neglect but to build a ‘Bangaru Telangana’ which is inclusive and forward-looking.
The Government of Telangana, under the leadership of Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri K. Chandrasekhar Rao, in last one year and eight months time, has taken formidable steps to undo historic wrongs meted out to the State by reorientation of existing policies and made strides in building a 'Bangaru Telangana' with the support and involvement its people. While a glance of these initiatives has been narrated in the present chapter, details are discussed separately in following chapters.
The majority of the State population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. However, agricultural production is dependent on the vagaries of the monsoon. Unfortunately, there is a deficiency in rainfall in last two consecutive years resulting in an unprecedented drought in the State. Of the total 459 Mandals in the State, the Government has declared 231 Mandals as drought affected following the standard criteria. As a result, there is a decline Gross Cropped Area from 53.15 lakh hectares in 2014-15 to 40.87 lakh hectares in 2015-16. During the same period, foodgrain production alone has come down from 72.18 lakh tonnes to 49.35 lakh tonnes. Concomitant to this drought also impacted the availability of fodder for feeding animals and fisheries production, accentuating the economic distress in rural areas.
The government is trying address the problems associated with the agriculture sector through a two-pronged approach. One the one hand, Government has prepared an action plan for mitigating the adverse impact of drought through the provision of input subsidy, organising cattle camps in 231 drought declared Mandals, provision of Rs. 2.4 crore for transporting fodder, assistance to fishermen, and providing an additional 50 days of wage employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA) etc. On the other hand, structural problems are being dealt by the implementation of both state plan schemes and Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
In order to transmit the fruits of agriculture research to the farmers, Government had initiated trailer-made agriculture extension schemes to suit various sections. As a part of an agricultural extension, Mana Telangana Mana Vyavasayam, T & V Monthly Workshops, Farmers & Farm Women Trainings, Training to Young Farmers etc. schemes are being implemented to impart necessary knowledge, technology and new skills to the farming community.
Mechanisation of agriculture is another flagship initiative to reduce the cost of cultivation and boost agriculture productivity, especially in times of labour shortage. Depending on the types of crops grown, soil conditions, local situations and requirements in the districts, farm machinery is being distributed at a subsidised rate.
Horticulture is a promising agriculture component for farmers of present generations. Telangana is a significant contributor in horticultural crops such as mango, mousambi, red-chilli, turmeric, marigold and vegetables. The government is encouraging farmers to adopt micro irrigation projects and greenhouses/polyhouses for the cultivation of horticulture crops.
Animal Husbandry provides an additional income and employment to the farmers, especially in times of drought. Telangana is blessed with rich livestock resources, especially in cattle and sheep population. measures have been taken to strengthen existing institutions to improve the quality of animal health services. In order to provide sufficient fodder for animals improved varieties of fodder, seeds have been supplied to farmers. The government is also providing power subsidy to the poultry Sector at the cost of Rs. 2 per unit. The government has been conducting Mass Sheep and Goat Deworming Programmes free of cost covering entire sheep and goat population in the State.
Forests play a major role in supporting livelihood activities of rural poor apart from contributing to sustainable development. At present 24.35 percent of the total geographical area in Telangana is under forest cover. Government targets to increase forest/tree cover area to at least a minimum 33 percent of the total geographical area. In this direction, Government has launched 'Telangana Ku Haritha Haaram' as a flagship programme aiming to encourage social forestry and rejuvenate degraded forests in the State.