After the “armistice” between Raj Bhavan and Pragathi Bhavan, Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Friday, 3 February, addressed the joint session of the Telangana Assembly and Council, asserting that Telangana has become a role model for the entire nation with its progressive economic policies.
Though technically the present session is the continuation of the last session as it was not prorogued, for all practical purposes it signalled the commencement of the Budget session as the finance minister is scheduled to present the budget on 6 February.
Tamilisai Soundararajan — after a gap of one year — addressed the joint session which the state government initially wanted to avoid in the wake of the heightened differences between Raj Bhavan and Pragathi Bhavan.
But, after the intervention of the Telangana High Court, the state government decided to include the Governor’s address in the session.
Governor sticks to script
The Governor, for her part, stuck to the script, allaying the apprehensions that she might deviate from the text, a la her Tamil Nadu counterpart Ravindra Narayan Ravi, which may have caused embarrassment to the government.
On arrival at the Assembly, the Governor was warmly received by Speaker Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, and Council Chairman G Sukender Reddy.
Though the Governor’s speech lacked any new initiatives that the government contemplated, it gave a bird’s eye view of what it had been doing for the welfare of the people and its initiatives in several sectors.
She also made it clear that the state was winning accolades for the way it was balancing development with welfare and that there has been discussion about the Telangana model of development all over the country.
The Governor began her address with poet Kaloji Narayana Rao’s quote, “Birth is yours, death is yours, life is all meant for the country,” and ended her speech with the quote of another poet, Dasaradhi Krishnamacharya, “Let us all strive for a better world that is bereft of drought and hunger, let us all strive to build a bright future that is full of hope and positive dreams for the children.”
Addressed the Joint Session of #Telangana State Legislative & Council #Assembly as a part of upcoming 2023 budget session. Amidst Honb Speaker,Honb Council Chairman,Honb CM,Honb Ministers,Legislative members & Council Members of TS present at Assembly Hall.#GovernorsAddress pic.twitter.com/jyLPVdR0Z4
— Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan (@DrTamilisaiGuv) February 3, 2023
‘State is on the path of growth’
Asserting that the state was firmly on a growth path, the Governor explained how agriculture underwent a revolutionary change with the massive Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) and the supply of power round-the-clock to farmers after the formation of the state in 2014.
She said that the state was making phenomenal progress due to the blessings of the people, and the skillful administration of the chief minister.
“There was a time when the rural areas presented a picture of poverty and distress. Today, Telangana’s villages are completely transformed with a very high quality of life. There used to be days when the entire agriculture sector was distressed but now the state is able to supply food to the rest of the country by becoming its granary,” she said.
“On the industrial front too, there has been a great transformation. The state has remained investor-friendly and is attracting top-class companies and multinationals in IT and other sectors. “The state is making rapid progress while protecting the environment and increasing greenery,” the Governor added.
Agricultural sector is stabilised
The Governor said that the government stabilised the agriculture sector.
“We have built the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation scheme in a record three-and-a-half years. When the state was formed in 2014-15, Telagnana had irrigation facilities for only 20 lakh acres. The same has now increased to 73.33 lakh acres. Our target is to provide irrigation facilities to one crore acres and it would be achieved shortly.”
She also outlines the features of Rythu Bandhu and Rytu Bheema for the benefit of farmers.
“Under Rythu Bandhu the government has transferred ₹65,000 crore to the farmers’ accounts as crop investment assistance. No other state has achieved such a historic feat,” she said, adding that the measures taken by the government had helped farmers produce 2.02 lakh crore tonnes of farm products which were just 68.17 lakh tonnes at the time of the formation of the state.
Welfare schemes for tribals, BCs
Regarding the tribals, the Governor said that reservations for them were increased to 10 percent and upgraded 2471 thandas and gudems into gram panchayats and as a result, 3,146 tribals are now working as sarpanches for their habitations.
Outlining the measures taken for the welfare of the BCs, she said that the government created 15 percent reservation in allotment of wine shops to them, waived tax on toddy and date palms, supplies free power up to 250 units for haircutting salons and laundries, increased the BC residential schools to 310 from 19 and the initiation of the Atma Gaurava Bhavanalu scheme.
The Governor said that the government, keeping in mind the need for employment for the youth, decided to fill 80,039 vacancies in one go. She added that the regularisation of those who were on a contract basis was also being done.
Noting that the government is spending ₹7,289 crore on Mana Ooru Mana Badi scheme, she said that the government was paying special attention to the empowerment of women and accordingly provided 33 percent reservation to them in government jobs.
She also mentioned that it was handing over cash gifts to girls on the occasion of their weddings under Klayan Lakshmi and Shadi Mubarak schemes.
The governor said that as a mark of honour to BR Ambedkar, the new secretariat has been named after the great visionary and that a 124 ft high Amebdkar statue was coming up near the secretariat.