Krishank Manne | Time to introduce the Telangana model of development

Telangana has to be unleashed to the nation as an example of how governance, with a new thought process, can lead to better opportunities

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had envisioned turning India into a USD 5 Trillion economy by 2024-25, but his claims now ring too boisterous as the IMF’s recent findings say that the country will have to wait till 2029 to see that become true.

It is now evident that Modi’s economic policies all turned out to be fallacies, and the central government is attempting to boost the economy by putting public sector units to sale. At one end, PSU’s are propagated as non-performing assets, states like Gujarat and Haryana depend on Adani Power and are suffering with massive protests due to constant power outages. On the other hand, surprisingly, Adani Power’s net profit has jumped multi-fold to Rs 4645 crores in the March quarter. Government of India disinvesting in profit making institutions and corporates making big earnings while states are in crisis - precisely the reason why Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao called the central government alliance as NPA or the ‘Non Performing Asset Government’.

It would seem that the BJP has prioritised things that are quite different from the common man’s concerns. It has decided to pursue the controversies that will play into its agenda, be it the Khalistani politics in Punjab and Haryana, bulldozer politics in Delhi and UP, Hijab-Halal controversy in Karnataka, loudspeaker battle in Maharashtra, or the prevalence of Urdu in Telangana. Meanwhile, water and power shortages in Gujarat continue to torture the public who voted for them. Corruption continues to make headlines in Karnataka, and hike in cooking gas and fuel prices has made life hell for people across the country. But none of these seem to be issues worth pursuing for the ruling party.

On the developmental front, one must assume that the BJP is aware of their own government’s poor performance from the way they themselves have now stopped using the once much used catch-phrases like ‘Acche Din’ or ‘Vikas’ in their speeches these days.

Instead, a new tactic is in play - claiming progress through ‘Double Engine Governments’, where a state is ruled by the same party that is in power at the centre. Even if claimed to be true, this is a blatant violation of the Constitution and a disrespect to the co-operative federalism as well as the rights of voters, who are now threatened that they would be denied rights, opportunities and development if BJP is not voted into power in their state. However, it is not true, as the fact remains that it is the very same states with BJP in power, though pampered by Modi ji and his corporate friends, are the ones still limping in terms of development.

However, the question of development and progress is not one we can simply leave out of political conversations. We have examples before us of nations crumpling down due to bad political, economical and social policies that happened much recently and right in our neighbourhood.

In addition to this, we must also examine why India, a country with its abundant resources and potential to grow on par with superpowers like China and America, is still nowhere near them. We are held back by limited perspectives, political divide, unclear vision and ravaging policy making. The need of the hour is a new thought process and indeed a new direction for the nation.

The nation needs results, as participatory democracy works only when the people can feel that work is indeed done, and only then further radical changes can be initiated. To begin with, Centre dismantling concurrent and state lists will only make things difficult. Agriculture and allied industries need reforms, such as farmers being safeguarded by constitutional provisions to encourage farming and raise the production quantity, and of course simultaneously improving the infrastructural facilities that are still lagging behind in many states.

It is in this context Telangana’s development between 2014-2022 should be taken as a case study on how it has grown to the top from almost nothing. Today, Telangana has no power cuts and continues to provide 24 hour free electricity. It has no water scarcity, it is popular for welfare schemes to various sections of society, and is appreciated for its focus on infrastructure building. Now is the moment the Telangana model should be shown to the nation as an example of how good governance, with a new thought process, can lead to better opportunities. And when Telangana can do it, then why not an Uttar Pradesh, a Bihar, a Gujarat, or a Haryana?

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