Telangana Welfare schemes launched by Chief Minister K Chandrsekhar Rao are being emulated by various state government, the latest being West Bengal that adopted both the input subsidy scheme and insurance for farmers initiated by the youngest Indian state.
Following West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcements about insurance for farmers as well as input subsidy for cultivation the working president of TRS Mr KT Rama Rao tweaked Bal Gangadhar Tilak’s famous saying and posted on Twitter: “What Telangana thinks/does today, India follows tomorrow.”
Prior to Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand had also announced schemes modelled on Telangana Ryathu Bandhu scheme (farmers’ friend) under which farmers receive Rs 8,000 per acre acre in two instalments for Rabi and Kharif crops while under Ryathu Beema scheme the next kin of a farmer received Rs 5 lakh in case of his death.
Mr Rao had initiated both schemes in addition to irrigation projects since Telangana had recorded the highest number of farmer suicides in past years. Both Telangana welfare schemes had paid rich dividends to Rao in the elections as he won with a thumping majority.
During election campaign, Rao had received flak from both Congress and BJP leaders including their central leadership for launching such incentive schemes which resulted in direct cash transfer and leading the state into a debt trap.
“Both Ryathu Bandhu and Ryathu Beema have immensely benefited the farmers. After the death of a farmer no questions are being asked and the families are straight away being given Rs 5 lakh. These two schemes along with the pensions have touched a large part of the population,” said O Narsimaha Reddy, member of Telangana State Council of Education. However, Rao had not resorted to distributing freebies like mixer or pressure cooker but each of his schemes were launched to ensure an improvement in human development index in Telangana where all the 10 districts save Hyderabad were backward at the time of bifurcation.
KCR kits for new mothers have increased institutional deliveries, particularly in tribal areas and ensure mothers receive prenatal care and new born babies do not suffer from malnourishment and are vaccinated.
Similarly, he launched Kalyana Laxmi scheme under which families of young girls get Rs one lakh to perform their marriages thereby preventing child marriage which is quite rampant not only in rural areas but even in old Hyderabad where agents often negotiate marriages of minor to residents of Gulf countries. Recently, Mr Rao accused his Andhra Pradesh counterpart of copying the Kalyana Laxmi scheme and his industrial policies.
On the day results of Assembly elections were declared, Rao had said his concept of Federal Front was not limited to political alignment but the country should look for new economic and agricultural models.
His meetings with chief ministers of West Bengal and Odisha, Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik respectively, evoked a tepid response and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav even sidestepped a meeting with him prompting Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to throw a barb saying his Federal Front has no takers.