Telangana is not going to be the same after COVID, there will be a total resetting of the way we have been living. We have to ask our Government to take advantage of this watershed moment in our states’ history and bring in major far-reaching reforms.
Telangana chief minister KCR should be asked to make some badly needed decisions based on logic and common sense so that we insulate our lovely state from the destruction being wrought in the Northern states. In this respect there are many things that need to be changed with immediate effect;
Since 21 March 2020 to date, we have seen a huge improvement in our environment, the air is much cleaner, and in fact, our air has become almost as good as the air in Canada. Our roads are much less crowded and our rivers and lakes have become much cleaner. In fact, the Center had a monstrously bloated budget of 28,600 Crores to clean up the Ganga, and the project was not making progress.
However, to everybody’s surprise, the Ganga has suddenly become cleaned on its own! In fact today you can even drink from that river. Let us not let these environmental gains slip away!
India, as a whole, is a different and very difficult situation, it is too overcrowded, too loosely governed and there is too much corruption. It will be an uphill task and India is not likely to make any major gains in the foreseeable future. Once the COVID scare is over, it may go back to its old ways.
However, Telangana can use this tragedy to change its future for the better. Telangana is much less crowded and there is much less crime, there is more education and the people are much smarter. Corruption is there at India levels at the present, but it is not difficult to crush corruption with a man like KCR at the helm if he takes it seriously enough.
With these major plus points, it is not difficult for Telangana to make huge gains is if we can adopt the right policies and get going with tough reforms that will help the state to go into a new era!
Here are the major reforms we should embark on immediately and before the Lockdown gains are squandered away;
1. Decongest roads, reduce the number of people holding two-wheeler licenses, increasing petrol prices, and bike registration costs to discourage every person to go in for motorbikes. Just a few years ago almost every tradesman, Doodwala, Dhobi, Plumber, etc., were using cycles only. Many progressive countries are limiting the number of vehicles and licenses that they issue as per very strict criteria. This way, roads will get decongested and safer and people will automatically start using bicycles and public transports. Limit only 1 car per family; reduce two-wheelers by 50%.
2. Ban all autorickshaws they are the most polluting and a waste of resources. Many countries are surviving without these lousy vehicles on their roads.
3. We have too many schools and too many children crowded into them. Children are under tremendous pressure to perform and get 99% marks. This mad rush for marks is depriving our children of sports, recreation time, and other extracurricular activities. It is not permitting them to blossom with their own creative ideas and goals.
The schools are churning out millions of robot-like children who then go on to attend below standard colleges and as a result, 90% of them become “unemployable” after graduation. This has to change. Great brain-storming is needed to spruce up the education system.
Western countries do not permit children to go to schools before the age of five years. Secondly, ages 5 to 10 or 11 can be now homeschooled or taught remotely. Close schools below the 4th standard, this will also decongest our roads and systems.
4. Ban all types of religious activity and processions on public roads. All such activities to be restricted only to homes or temples mosques churches etc.
5. Place a blanket ban on communal activities, hate speeches, and polarization by outsiders and the media in Telangana.
6. Like Tamil Nadu is doing, encourage employers to use only local’s (Mulkis). Labor from other states should obtain permits to live here for 1 or 2-year max. The system of indiscriminate movement of millions of laborers from the North is needlessly bringing diseases and crime and is destroying the social fabric of our state. It is also stretching our resources and is bringing our overstretched support systems to a breaking point. We do not need this huge and wild workforce; we have enough of our own here.
We need not go on this mad rush for industrialization and development; we can let the state’s economy slow down and continue in low gear for a few years to come. It will not be any worse off, as COVID has shown us.
7. Close the thousands of restaurants which are always a threat to public hygiene – instead, limit restaurants to only bigger ones that can afford better hygiene and cleanliness.
8. Ninety percent Hawkers in the city are today people from Bihar, U.P or Karnataka, etc.; we don’t need to support them to live here and to make our cities crowded. Ban all out of state hawkers and roadside Thelas and Bundis. Also, the one run by locals should be shifted in designated areas.
9. Agriculture: Bring in reforms in our agricultural policies; Telangana is a water-scarce state; ban the cultivation of paddy that uses over 500 liters of water and “free” electricity costing over a thousand rupees to grow just 1 kilo of paddy. Ban paddy cultivation and encourage farmers to move to less water-intensive crops using drip irrigation. This way we can increase by ten times the area under wet cultivation and irrigation. This way will enable all farmers, and not just the ones having land under canals or lakes, to thrive. The paddy that our state needs can be easily imported from water surplus neighboring states.
10. Seventy percent of farms today in Telangana has become very small holding of 2-3 acres only. Therefore, these poor farmers cannot afford to use commercial tractors charging 800 Rs per hour! The situation is so bad that many farmers are just giving up farming. Instead of Loan write-offs or distributing money directly to farmers, use the same money to buy tractors and machinery for each village Cooperative. These cooperatives will let their members use the machinery for a nominal charge. This is in practice in Andhra and the farmers there are doing very well.
11. Introduce the “Grain Silo” system at all village or Taluk levels so that the millions of tons of grain that are being lost to corruption, to spoilage, and to rats can be saved. We do not need a central Warehousing Corporation; this can be done at local village levels using Silos. Other countries have been using Grain Silos for almost a century now. Not a single grain of rice will get spoiled if stored in a metal silo.
12. We have a world-class Doctors and hospital system. Unfortunately, it has become a nightmare situation due to these hospital owners becoming money-mad and forcing their doctors to boost revenues by scaring their patients to go in for needless treatments. Control these “creative” bill boosting systems and huge bills in private hospitals by introducing fines and incentives. Start a public based grading system for hospitals based on patient reviews after treatment. The hospital with the best ratings gets its taxes etc. reduced and the ones getting bad marks will have to pay a penalty in taxes.