The most confused and disappointed section of Telangana society, the disgruntled ‘dual citizens’ of Telugu States in Hyderabad and the opposition parties, “what new have we got in Telangana State which was not there earlier” — the same politics, the same political parties and the same administration, etc. This is a distorted feeling of dissatisfied elements.

The sentiment in one part is about the dislike of the political ecology of the new regional party vis-a-vis the national parties. In other part, it is about losing their earlier suzerainty. But in fact, there is every chance to discern within the new State, if they open their eyes and minds to see it. If one wants to be like an Ostrich with head in the sand, they cannot see the wholesome change.

The main objectives of the Telangana struggle were political freedom, use of its funds, use of its share of river water and jobs to its people. In this, Telangana has achieved a great deal. Of course, much remains to be done. But prioritisation and using resources prudentially and in a phased manner is important.

In that, the State is doing very well at the macro level. Several programmes are ongoing and many are in the pipeline. When compared with many other States, Telangana’s reconstruction is faster. In fact, it is doing better than Gujarat, which was formed in 1960 and hailed as a model State.

Fiscal Management

The State is now ruled by Telangana legislators. Political decisions are taken by the Assembly of Telangana legislators, not by the Andhra majority. It enjoys its own revenue in full, without sharing it with Andhra as in the united State. In the united State budget in 2013-14, the share of revenue expenditure in Telangana regions was less than Rs 50,000 crore. In 2019-20, it was Rs 1,08,096 crore. In 2021-22, the total expenditure proposed for TS is Rs 2,30,826 crore as against Rs 2,14,675 crore of AP. Telangana had a balanced budget in all the 7 years. Outstanding liabilities are within the stipulated limit. It is among the top 5 States in fiscal and financial management.

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Telangana is one of the fastest growing States, posting an average annual growth rate of 13.90% over the last five years. Its GDP grew from Rs 4,15,58,140 in 2013-14 (11th rank) to Rs 9,80,40,740 (7th rank) in 2020-21. Per capita GDP was up from Rs 1,12,162 (13th rank) in 2013-14 to Rs 2,50 691 (6th rank). The State is also in the top echelons in most major economic indicators. This is endorsed by the RBI. Niti Aayog’s ArthNITI, in its August 2021 report, had a two-page exclusive report commending the progress of Telangana.

Growth Indicators

The irrigation and drinking water mega projects of Telangana are the cynosure of the country. The State has designed and is executing irrigation projects in a fast forward mode to use its full share of Godavari and Krishna. Its drinking water scheme providing safe water to every village is considered unique.

Telangana, which was woefully short of power in 2013-14, is now power surplus. Its rural and social development schemes have attracted national attention. IT/ ITeS exports stood at Rs 1,45,522 cr for 2020-21, up 12.98% over the previous year. Unemployment rate is 4.4% as against all-India’s 7.6% and AP’s 6.3%. The development plan of Telangana is a good mixture of welfare and infrastructure.

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In Parliament, Central ministers praised the good schemes of Telangana. RBI, Niti Aayog and other national institutions have recognised its good progress. It is surprising how all of this work is not visible, audible or readable to the critics of the new State.

This disgruntled section alleges that the State is being spoiled and thousands of crores are being wasted on mega projects. Or Telangana is not made golden Telangana as promised. Criticism and dissent are a part and parcel of a pluralistic society. There is always scope for improvement. But refusing to see the actual progress on the ground and criticism of every move of the government just for the sake of it is not pluralism.

Incongruous Criticism

An example is calling the Kaleshwaram project a wasted spending of funds. On one hand, we want to have more share of river water and harness it for our water security, on the other, we call an effort in that direction a waste of funds! Providing 24-hour electricity is castigated. Power is a lifeline for every development activity. Production of excess rice is being used to show the irrigation projects in a bad light.

Despite RBI endorsing the loan outstandings of the State being within the stipulated limit, they make a big hue and cry on state loans for capital investment. Despite Telangana’s unemployment rate being better than the all-India average, they pillory the government on it. Such incongruous criticism makes these groups dubious.

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The interesting thing in these groups — the educated dissidents of Telangana, the disgruntled ‘settlers’ and the opposition parties – is they have no alternative plans for better governance. Their common pastime is only to find fault in everything the government does and create confusion in the minds of people. This may be a general state of affairs in India, but in Telangana, which was bound to Andhra and held back for 58 years, it should be different. There should be an all-pervasive altruistic Telangana development thinking.

The unreasonable criticism is becoming more pernicious, putting spokes in the wheel of reconstruction of the new State. They should also remember that this government has a mandate till 2023. This criticism appears to be a case of political cynicism. Cappella and Jamieson (1997) defined political cynicism as “mistrust generalized from particular leaders or political groups to the political process as a whole – a process perceived to corrupt the persons who participate in it and that draws corrupt persons as participants.”

Cynicism also has been defined as oppositional to political efficacy (eg, Niemi et al 1991) and as inversely related to trust in different social, economic, and political institutions. A cynic is someone who cribs constantly but never does anything about anything and is determined to stay that way. #KhabarLive #hydnews