Vijayawada: Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy completed 100 days in his office and during the last three months he had taken many revolutionary, path breaking and controversial decisions. DC looks at the positives and controversial aspects of his governance.
Hiking social security pensions:
Assuring that every aspect of the 2-page manifesto he had released before the polls will be implemented, Mr Reddy’s first signature as the Chief Minister was on the file enhancing the monthly social security pension from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,250.
During his padayatra, Mr Reddy had promised that he will hike the social security pensions from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000. It is also part of Navaratnalu— the nine schemes YSRC had promised. He said that within four years these pensions will be hiked to Rs 3,000.
The move will benefit close to 55 lakh pensioners.
Hiking of salaries of Asha workers:
After announcing the hike of salaries of Asha workers, Mr Reddy signed on the file related to it in the first Cabinet meeting itself. Salaries of Asha workers were increased from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000. This benefited 42,000 people in the state.
50 per cent reservation to SCs, STs and BCs in nominated posts:
The Legislative Assembly on July 23 passed five crucial Bills to provide 50 per cent reservation to Backward Classes (BCs), SCs, STs and minorities in nominated posts, 50 per cent quota to the same sections in government-nominated contracts and service contracts and of this, at least 50 per cent reservation to women and constitute a permanent BC Commission.
These Bills were among the 19 that were passed in the Budget session.
Appointment of Gram and Ward Volunteers
In line with his promise during the election campaign, the YSRC government appointed volunteers in villages and wards for door delivery of the government schemes.
A village volunteer for every 50 households will be appointed with a monthly honorarium of Rs 5,000.
Mr Reddy also announced that a call centre attached to the CMO will monitor complaints.
During his maiden speech after taking oath as the Chief Minister, Mr Reddy on May 30 said that a secretariat will be established in every village across the state by October 2, Gandhi Jayanti. Works on these secretariats have already begun in the first 100 days of his rule. Village secretariat staff is being recruited by conducting written exams across the state.
Mr Reddy said that every village secretariat will have 10 government staff and around 1.6 lakh new government staff will be recruited for the purpose. Any government scheme will be implemented within 72 hours from the time the application was given at the village secretariat.
Setting up of Village Secretariats is a revolutionary idea to decentralise administration.
Merger of APSRTC into government
The Cabinet on September 4 cleared the proposal to merge APSRTC into the state government. A day before, an expert committee led by RTC former MD Anjaneya Reddy along with ministers and transport officials met Mr Reddy and the report on merger of APSRTC into state government.
With the merger, more than 50,000 employees of APSRTC, who have been demanding job security for years, will be treated on par with state government employees.
Spandana (Response) is the most successful programme launched by the government, which has been receiving tremendous response. Every Monday, the government will take representations from the people on grievances and give them an acknowledgement with the approximate date by which the issue would be resolved. There have been long queues with people giving representations, most of them pertaining to land, housing, pensions, housing and the like.
Mr Reddy has been holding a review meeting on Spandana every Tuesday with revenue and police officials and constantly monitoring the system. The programme is an offshoot of his 3,648 km padayatra.
Judicial review of government contracts
The second and the most important legislation the government has passed is to clear the decks for judicial preview of all contract works which are over and above Rs 100 crore or the total sum of being split into smaller fractions.
The Bill enables that a legal person, suggested by High Court Chief Justice, to Preview all tenders for government works. The bidding and other details will be displayed on public domain for suggestions from the public and later the appointed judge will, with the help of technical persons, take a final call on the finalisation of the bidder.
There is also a provision for going for reverse tendering on some of the shady deals of the previous deals which were done mostly on nomination method as well.
75 per cent reservation to locals in jobs in industries:
The Bill that provides 75 per cent jobs to locals in the industries first of its kind in the country had been passed in the state Assembly with a voice vote on July 24. The AP Employment of Local Candidates in Industries/Factories Bill 2019 sparked a nationwide debate with opinions sharply divided over it. Majority found fault with Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s decision stating what will be the plight of Andhra people working in other states if they too make such laws and strictly enact them. On behalf of the government Mr Reddy defended this move on various platforms including at the diplomatic outreach programme.
The Bill, which was passed in the State Legislative Assembly, enables locals to get a 75 per cent reservation in employment in the industries that would come up either in Public Sector or in Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The Skill Development Centres, to be set up in Engineering Colleges, will train locals to meet the standards of the industry if there is a dearth of candidates in the required measure in the region.
Cancellation of the contract with Navayuga Company on Polavaram
Cancellation of contract given to Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd (NECL) to execute Polavaram main dam works and hydel power project stoked another controversy during the 100 days of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government.
The state government went ahead and also called fresh tenders despite the Centre and Polavaram Project Authority objecting to the reverse tendering.
The High Court too found fault with the state government for cancelling the contract with NECL on the hydel project.
On July 29, the state government issued termination notice to Polavaram project contractor Navayuga Engineering (NECL). The state government will now call fresh tenders.
Review of Power Purchase Agreements signed by the TD government
The YSRC government appears to be determined to review the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed by the previous government despite the Centre red flagging the procedure.
The Union government at least twice wrote to the state government not to go ahead with the review of PPAs as it will hurt the investor sentiments.
However, Mr Reddy has remained firm, justifying his decision by saying that PPAs were agreed to at exorbitant prices. He says the PPAs will cost the state exchequer Rs 25,000 crore for 25 years.
The AP government insists that reviewing the PPAs will not scare away the investors.
Stopping all the construction activity in Amaravati capital city
The Jagan government believes that large scale irregularities took place in selecting the capital city location, including land pooling scheme by the TD government and also awarding contracts for construction. The view of the government is now that it wants to first understand all the irregularities and then come to a conclusion and decide what to do with the capital city.
Immediately after coming to power, Mr Reddy stopped construction activity worth thousands of crores in the capital region. An expert committee was appointed to study the contracts awarded. The committee is yet to complete the study and submit its report.
Stopping sand mining for almost 3 months
Suspecting large-scale irregularities in sand mining during TD regime, the YSRC government stopped sand mining across the state. It said it wants to streamline the system and bring in a new sand policy.
While the new sand policy has come into effect from September 5, for three months the construction sector across the state suffered due to lack of sand. Lakhs labourers were rendered jobless. The state government’s move had come under severe criticism from the opposition parties....