The newly inaugurated Congress government in Telangana, led by Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, has quick to action with the implementation of key election pledges within two days of taking the oath of office. Two of the six 'guarantees' given by the Congress party during the election campaign have been actioned, signaling a swift start to the new administration.
Implementation of Promises
The first of these initiatives is the implementation of free bus travel for women under the 'Maha Lakshmi Scheme'. This is seen as a significant move in alleviating travel-related financial burdens, particularly for students and professionals. The scheme has been met with enthusiasm across the state.
The second actioned pledge is a raise in health insurance coverage limit to INR 10 lakh under the 'Rajiv Aarogyasri' plan. This endeavour enhances the existing health insurance scheme, providing a larger safety net for citizens.
Financial Implications and Challenges
While the initiatives have been well-received, they come with considerable financial implications. The cost of free bus rides alone is estimated at INR 6 crore per day, totaling around INR 2,500 crore annually. This expenditure arises even as the new government grapples with alleged financial mismanagement by the previous BRS government, which stands accused of depleting state funds.
Consequently, the Congress government is planning to release a white paper detailing the state's economic transition from surplus to debt between 2014 and 2023. This report will provide insight into the financial challenges faced by the newly-elected government as it strives to fulfil its election promises.
Honoring Sonia Gandhi
Interestingly, the fulfillment of these promises coincided with the birthday of Sonia Gandhi, a gesture honoring her significant role in the formation of Telangana state. This symbolism underscores the Congress party's commitment to keeping its election pledges, as well as acknowledging the contributions of key figures in the state's history.