The Telangana cabinet met for over six and a half hours on Sunday and announced a slew of key decisions including a crop loan waiver and implementation of the K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) government’s flagship Dalit Bandhu scheme in the Huzurabad constituency that will have a crucial by-election soon. It also approved the appointment of Padi Kaushik Reddy as a member of the legislative council (MLC) in the governor’s nominated quota. Reddy, a former Congress leader from the Huzurabad constituency, recently joined the state’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the presence of KCR.
The chief minister explained after the marathon meeting that the state government is moving forward to fulfil the aspirations of all sections of the people.
“Cultivation under ponds has increased due to the implementation of the Mission Kakatiya. Groundwater levels have increased. With the qualitative change in power supply, the area under cultivation has increased significantly. Now, 20 per cent of the state’s revenue comes from agriculture."
He also stated that the Haritha Haram programme has also been successful and the villages are covered with greenery. The CM congratulated panchayati raj minister Errabelli Dayakar Rao for the successful implementation of the green cover plan.
KCR said the government is trying to safeguard caste-based professions to strengthen the rural economy and the distribution of sheep had benefited shepherds and increased the livestock.
Rao said the fishermen, toddy tappers, weavers, etc, were happy with his government’s schemes.
The Dalit Bandhu scheme will change the lives of the Dalits in the state and it will be a role model for the entire country, he said. The programme provides Rs 10 lakh as financial assistance to each Dalit family below the poverty line. About 20,000 such households will benefit from this scheme in the poll-bound Huzurabad assembly constituency. The election, likely in September, is being seen as a prestige battle and a bellwether for the 2023 assembly polls in the state.
The cabinet was of the view that a special law should be enacted to legalise the Dalit Bandhu scheme.
“20 per cent of the state population are Dalits. Only 13 lakh acres of agricultural land belongs to Dalits. What more evidence do we need to exhibit and establish their poverty? They believe in their hard work. Dalits are in a more miserable condition than tribals. Hence, we decided to give Rs 10 lakh to each family," KCR said.
The cabinet approved the CM’s decision to allow the beneficiaries to form a group and set up a large unit with a large investment through the Dalit Bandhu scheme.
KCR said the beneficiaries are free to choose the path of self-employment or business and the government officials and Dalit volunteers will guide and create awareness in this direction. He added that the district collectors and the district ministers should play a key role in the implementation of the Dalit Bandhu programme and that a Centre for Dalit Enterprise should be set up in each district to promote Dalit entrepreneurs.
Gift for farmers
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi had promised in its election manifesto to waive crop loans up to Rs 1 lakh. Due to the Covid-induced financial crisis during the past two years, however, the state government was only able to forgo borrowings of up to only Rs 25,000 availed by farmers in the past. The state cabinet on Sunday decided to waive loans of up to Rs 50,000 and the process will start on August 15.
It also decided that candidates whose annual income is less than Rs 8 lakh are eligible for the union government-introduced economically weaker sections (EWS) quota in education and employment opportunities. The cabinet also decided to grant a relaxation of five years in the maximum age limit under the EWS quota for state government recruitment.
It directed to increase cotton cultivation across the state due to the special international demand for Telangana cotton. The cabinet also directed agricultural authorities to identify areas suitable for commercial crops across the state and prepare plans to further promote the cultivation of lucrative ones.
Covid and healthcare
In view of the Covid pandemic orphaning a number of children, the cabinet also directed the secretary of the medical and health department to collect the details of such kids. The chief minister said that with the loss of parents, children of a growing age will be facing mental anguish as well as social discrimination and may fall prey to societal cruelty. A cabinet sub-committee chaired by women and child welfare minister Satyavati Rathore has been set up to delve into the matter.
The cabinet discussed the ongoing vaccination process in the state, advanced arrangements in hospitals and infrastructure. It urged the people to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and said even vaccine recipients should exercise caution without neglect.
The cabinet discussed the steps to be taken to start the seven newly sanctioned medical colleges in Telangana from the next academic year and the design of the infrastructure required for this. It directed the department of roads and buildings to take necessary steps for the opening of medical colleges and also directed medical officers to prepare plans for further development of the Hyderabad Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences and expansion of medical services and bring them to the next cabinet meeting.
The ministers discussed the setting up of five super speciality hospitals and asked officials to make arrangements for the laying of foundation stones for the buildings.
In addition to the TIMS hospital in Gachibowli, Hyderabad, the cabinet decided to rename three new super speciality hospitals in Hyderabad as Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences in Sanath Nagar, LB Nagar and Alwal.
The ministers discussed the progress of the super speciality hospital already sanctioned in Warangal and directed that construction be started soon.
The cabinet sanctioned a new multi-speciality hospital at Patancheru for the needs of labourers and others.
To establish a medical college in all districts of the state, the cabinet decided to identify the districts that do not have a medical college in the next two to three years and to set up the institutions in a phased manner.
Officials were also directed to start the process of reducing the old age pension starting point to 57 years immediately. KCR instructed to immediately transfer the pension to the husband if the wife dies.
The CM asked for full implementation of the free electricity scheme to dhobi ghats and salons up to 250 units in a week.
The cabinet decided to resume work on the SLBC tunnel to provide irrigation and drinking water to Nalgonda district and also directed to speed up the completion of the Udaya Samudram Lift Irrigation Scheme.