Smarting under the recent electoral setbacks, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is back to doing what he is best at: making big promises.
This time, he has come up with a promise to provide 50,000 government jobs soon and instructed chief secretary Somesh Kumar to issue a notification to fill all pending posts in various departments in the state.
The move comes when there is growing urban resentment against the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government, the poor showing in the just-concluded Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections serving as a rude wake-up call.
Ironically, Telangana is facing a precarious financial situation and has decided to slash the budget allocations drastically after suffering a revenue loss of nearly ₹53,000 crore due to Covid-19.
Fulcrum of statehood movement
One of the key rallying points of the Telangana statehood movement, spearheaded by the TRS in the early 2000s, was that the youth from the region were deprived of job opportunities in undivided Andhra Pradesh. “Neellu, Nidhulu, Niyamakaalu” (Water, Funds, Jobs) was the battle cry of the agitation.
However, the TRS, in power since the formation of the state in 2014, has been facing flak from the opposition for failing to deliver on the promise.
An RTI query has revealed that only about 29,000 posts have been filled in various government departments in the last six years. Another 5,900 posts are stuck in court cases.
“The students of Telangana universities who were the foot soldiers of the statehood movement are now a disappointed lot and have hit the streets demanding jobs,” senior Congress leader Mohammad Ali Shabbir said.
During the campaign, KCR, as the TRS supremo is popularly known, had promised to provide one lakh jobs soon after the formation of the state. It has remained a promise on paper only.
According to the periodic labour force survey (PLFS), released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the unemployment rate among graduates in Telangana was 33.9 percent as against the national average of 21.6 percent.
The pending vacancies of teachers, police personnel and others in government departments will be filled up and a notification in this regard will be issued soon, the officials said.
Last year, the state government had planned to raise the retirement age of government employees from 58 to 60 years. Several youth organisations protested against the move, saying it would deprive employment opportunities for the youth.
Fall in revenues
The promise of job bonanza comes at a time when the state is reeling under the debilitating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The state own revenues have fallen to a little more than 50 percent and the central devolutions too have come down sharply. The cumulative fall in the income is estimate at ₹52,750 crore, which is about 27 percent of the original budget estimates of ₹1.82 lakh crore for 2020-21.
During a mid-term review of the budget held recently, it was revealed that the state had received ₹33,704 crore for a seven month period from April to October this year, as against ₹39, 609 crore during the corresponding period last year.
The 2020-2021 budget proposals were prepared estimating that the state’s revenue growth rate would be 15%. But, due to pandemic, the revenues fell sharply compared to last year.
In 2020-2021, it was estimated that the state would receive ₹67,608 crore income through taxes and non-tax resources and the budget proposals were made accordingly. But as per the current estimates the chances for this year are only Rs 33,704 crore as the income.
As a result, drastic cuts in budgetary allocations will be inevitable.
In the Union Budget it was mentioned that for 2020-2021, the Centre would allocate ₹16,727 crore to Telangana towards its share. According to this, the state should get ₹8,363 crore for the financial year 2020-2021 from April to October. But the state received only ₹6,339 crore from the Centre during the period, the officials said.
By the end of financial year, it is estimated that the state would get ₹11,898 crore instead of ₹16,727 crore, which was its actual due.
Under several centrally sponsored and assisted schemes, Telangana is entitled to get ₹9,725 crore from the Centre. By October, it should have got ₹5,673 crore, but it got only ₹4,592 crore – a shortfall of ₹1,081 crore. By end of this financial year, the state may get only ₹8,923 crore instead of ₹9,725 crore, resulting in a shortfall of ₹802 crore.
Several populist schemes, including old age pensions for persons above 57 years and unemployment dole, are likely to take a hit due to the fall in revenues.