Hyderabad: 2015 was a year of consolidation for Telangana and its Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao as the newly-launched welfare and development programmes of the TRS government started taking shape in the second year of the new state.
However, the revenue-surplus state reeled under drought conditions this year due to scanty rainfall and a central team of officials visited the state this month to study the situation.
In his meeting with the team, Rao sought input subsidy for farmers in 231 mandals and raising the number of working days under MNREGA to 200 days, besides granting national status to a major irrigation project in the state.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government initiated a number of schemes for the state’s “reconstruction” during the 18 months since its formation in June last year.
Rao, who spearheaded the separate statehood agitation, alleges that Telangana was destroyed due to the discrimination of “Andhra rulers” in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
He announced a slew of decisions and programmes for the benefit of different sections. The state government employees, who were in the forefront of the statehood stir, received a bonanza from him with a massive 43 per cent hike announced in their salaries.
Promising to build a “golden Telangana”, the government initiated a ‘water grid’ scheme to supply piped drinking water to every household in the state and ‘ Mission Kakatiya’ for renovating tanks and other water bodies.
The ruling party had vowed not to seek votes in the next Assembly elections if it failed to provide piped drinking water. The two flagship programmes are under different stages of implementation.
TRS promised providing two-bed room houses for the poor during elections and a model colony of such flats has been constructed in Hyderabad.
A major success for the TRS government is the improved power supply situation during the year against predictions by some that Telangana would be power-starved after its formation.
Opposition Congress, TDP and BJP alleged that hundreds of farmers committed suicide due to agrarian crisis in the state and the state ministers blamed the previous governments for the distress in agriculture sector.
Alleging that the promise of farm loan waiver has only been implemented partially, the Opposition during the monsoon session of Assembly demanded waiving of farm loans at one go.
The TRS government’s plans to further expand the brand value of Hyderabad received a fillip with technology giant Google announcing its decision to build a new campus in the city.
The state government set up ‘T-hub’, an incubation centre for start-ups, which received appreciation from different quarters.
According to the state government, its new industrial policy got encouraging response from entrepreneurs during the year. The policy, for the first time, provides applicants the right to timely clearances.
On the political front, Rao is sitting pretty with his party (TRS) retaining the Warangal Lok Sabha constituency with a massive majority in a recent bypoll and Congress, TDP-BJP nominees even forfeiting their security deposits.
Amid allegations of poaching, several MLAs and MLCs from other parties continued to switch their loyalties to ruling TRS. Congress and TDP have filed disqualification petitions against them with the Speaker.
Main Opposition Congress, which is yet to recover from the defeat in last year’s elections despite “delivering” on the statehood demand, is in disarray after the shock loss in the Warangal bypoll.
TDP too is yet the receiving end with two of its MLAs in the state facing arrest (they got bail subsequently) in the alleged cash-for-vote scandal. An audio clip purportedly containing the voice of party President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu appeared on some news channels.
TRS, however, faces an uphill task in the upcoming Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, expected to be held next month, as the party has not been known to be a major force in the metropolis. TRS did not contest the last GHMC polls.
In the corporate sector, Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the country’s second largest drug maker, came under scanner of USFDA for alleged violation of Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) at three of its manufacturing plants located in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here, operated by the GMR Group, crossed 10 million passenger mark during the year.
In the sports arena, Hyderabad’s Sania Mirza had a dream run during the year as she became the world number one tennis player in women’s doubles. She won two Grand Slams and a number of other titles partnering Swiss legend Martina Hingis.
2015 had mixed fortunes for star shuttler Saina Nehwal who became world number one for the first time during the year but had to settle for second position in major tournaments like All England Championship, World Championship and China Open.