Anumula Revanth Reddy on December 7 took oath as the second chief minister of Telangana, India’s youngest state. From a local public representative in a remote village to the post of the Chief Minister, the political journey of Reddy has been exciting. He is a self-made politician who battled all odds to prove his mettle. Making a beginning on a winning note as an independent candidate in local body elections, the ambitious leader has come up in politics with hard work to reach to the top post in just 17 years. This is an extraordinary achievement for a leader who has no administrative experience and had never been in the ruling party.
The Congress’s robust campaign highlighting the six guarantees is said to have been one of the reasons for the party’s victory in Telangana. However, finding the funds to fulfil them will be a herculean task. The most attractive among the “six” is free travel for women in Telangana State Road Transport Corporation buses. According to a rough estimate, the Corporation earns Rs 2,500 crore annually through women passengers. If the scheme is to be implemented, the Congress dispensation will have to replenish the same amount to the corporation, which is reeling under accumulated losses of Rs 6,000 crore.
The party promised to waive up to farm loans of up to Rs 2 lakh. As per the calculation, the Congress government needs to allot at least 35,000 lakh crore for the next five years to implement the farm loan waiver. According to the state government statistics, as many as 42 lakh farmers were identified as beneficiaries during the previous regime for the crop loan waiver. Similarly, the Congress promised to give Rs 15,000 to farmers and Rs 12,000 to farm workers under the Rythu Bharosa guarantee scheme per acre annually. The previous BRS government has paid Rs 72,000 crore under a similar scheme during the past five and half years, with 70 lakh farmers benefiting. If the Congress party has to implement its scheme under similar parameters, it needs nearly Rs 1 lakh crore in the next five years.
The first challenge that Reddy will face is the implementation of the “six guarantees” and political challenges as, unlike the previous government, the Congress government will have stronger opposition in terms of numbers. Reddy will face strong opposition within the Congress party as well from the opposition on fulfilling the poll promises. According to the Telangana budget 2023-24, the total revenue was pegged at Rs 2.16 lakh crore while the revenue expenditure was at Rs 2.12 lakh crore. Telangana’s outstanding public debt is estimated to be Rs 3,57,059 crore, according to the Budget estimates 2023-24 which is 23.8 per cent of the GSDP. Maintaining fiscal prudence while delivering the promises will be a tough task.