On June 2, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao aka KCR’s government will be completing seven years. Since the formation of Telangana state on this appointed date, KCR has been at the helm of affairs. In Andhra Pradesh, CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy will be completing two years of governance. N Chandrababu Naidu was the CM of the residual Andhra Pradesh in the first five years after the carving out of Telangana. Post-2014, after the bifurcation, a report card on how both these states have performed is both necessary and the need of the hour.
In the first five years, Chandrababu and his bête noir KCR were bitter enemies and there was no chance of any conciliatory or amicable approach to the mutual problems faced by both states. The enmity was such that KCR had successfully forced Chandrababu to shift the entire administration to Amaravati, the newly formed capital of Andhra Pradesh then, despite the fact that the Bifurcation Act allowed AP to have Hyderabad as the mutual capital for ten years, from 2014. Matters reached their nadir when Chandrababu openly supported the Mahakutami led by the Congress in Telangana in 2019 elections. KCR supported and helped YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSRCP in AP for obvious reasons.
Receptive to Jagan
When Jagan came to power in AP, KCR invited him with open hands and hosted a special lunch for his younger counterpart and both declared that all the problems of AP and Telangana state would be solved across the table. Now, though KCR and Jagan are not at loggerheads as KCR and Chandrababu, there are several problems between the two neighbouring states that are yet to be resolved. With Jagan’s sister Sharmila planning to launch her political party and starting to criticise KCR’s governance, it remains to be seen how it will impact the relations between KCR and Jagan.
The entire Telangana statehood movement was based on the demands of water (for irrigation, drinking purposes), funds and jobs. KCR, as the torchbearer of the separate statehood movement, knew the problems faced by the region like the back of his palm. After becoming the CM, KCR has gone ahead with clear-cut action and planned governance.
At the time of the formation of the state, Telangana faced a severe power crisis. The state was known for its frequent power cuts and industries often declared power holidays. Several, major, medium and small industries have closed down. Since a majority of lands in Telangana were under borewell irrigation, the entire agriculture sector was on the verge of collapse and farmers’ suicides became the norm. Within a short span of three years, the state became a power-surplus state. Now, for the last seven years, there has been uninterrupted, quality 24-hour power supply for all sectors.
Another important measure that KCR undertook was to redesign the pending irrigation projects, which had only remained on paper in united AP. He planned and completed several new projects. The manner in which a major multipurpose lift irrigation project like Kaleswaram was conceived and completed is commendable. It has made the entire north Telangana district fertile. NITI Aayog has also recognised Telangana for reviving and revitalising the thousands of tanks, ponds, and water bodies under its ‘Mission Kakatiya’ programme. Now, the aim is to irrigate one crore acres of farm land, which will be a reality very soon.
For the welfare of farmers and the agriculture sector, KCR introduced several schemes, such as Rythu Bandhu (Farmers’ friend) Rythu Bhima (Farmers’ insurance). Under the Rythu Bandhu scheme, Rs 10,000 per acre for two crops per year is given to the farmers as input financial assistance. This has saved farmers from falling into the trap of private moneylenders and brought down the number of farmer suicides. Quality seeds and fertilisers are also given to the farmers. Telangana is the only state procuring paddy and other agriculture produce at MSP from the farmers’ doorstep. Even in the present corona pandemic situation, the procurement did not stop.
Welfare programmes for SCs, STs, BCs and minorities are being implemented at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore per year. In all major sectors, Telangana state is doing very well.
Over to Andhra
In his second year of office, AP CM YS Jagan has also initiated several measures for the welfare of the state. After he re-negotiated with the contractors of the prestigious Polavaram irrigation project, expenditure was reduced. He had introduced English as the medium of instruction in all the government schools and colleges. The benefits of all the welfare schemes are now reaching the beneficiaries directly through a village secretary set-up.
The AP CM had pioneered the idea of technology transfer to ramp up corona vaccine production. In AP, Covid treatment and vaccination is provided free of cost. Though the state’s economy is in a deep crisis, Jagan is managing to continue a host of the welfare schemes. And he is still grappling with problems like the issue of three capitals. Jagan wanted to have three capitals for AP - Amaravati (administrative), Visakhapatnam (executive) and Kurnool (legal) and the matter is yet to be resolved. He is still operating from Amaravati. In any case, he has three more years to go before he finishes his unfinished agenda as on date.
The writer is a senior journalist based in Hyderabad