KCR and party virtually hired NIMS, a non-Telangana hospital, as a TV studio cum party office for so many days. Did the government collect the costs, asks R Ramanan.
A common argument I hear all the time is that if a Telangana state is formed it will produce a separate Secretariat and Police, and so, about a lakh jobs will be created for the people of Telangana.
I keep staring vacantly at the sky unable to understand how to make sense out of this.
If I run a company with 200 people, I will probably pay enough taxes to employ two government employees. A Hyderabad Central Mall employs, maybe, 500 people. For one Hyderabad Central Mall to survive, it needs at least 200 companies employing 500 people to make it viable.
So if it is about jobs, it's better to go after investors and ask them to invest in the region. That is how Hyderabad grew in the '60s and the '70s - the Centre dumped investments in Hyderabad and that produced a lot of secondary activity. Private investment started coming in in a trickle around the '80s and then in a torrent with all the hype that was produced about "the happening city".
The industries in Hyderabad can definitely support a lot of government employees (remember, agriculture does not produce enough money to pay for government employees).
I see two problems.
a) Andhras have taken away government jobs in Hyderabad. Some say they all bought fake Mulki certificates.
Solution: Implement GO 610.
b) There are a couple million jobs in Hyderabad. But the jobs that Telangana people are getting is only of drivers and support staff at Reliance Fresh.
Solution: Promote education so that a percentage of those employees will also become software engineers, and managers at Reliance Fresh .
But what politicians are saying is this - all they have to do is get a Telangana state and everybody in Telangana will be working in a government job - starting 10.30am with a pan, tea at 11am, and then a lunch break. And the villagers even seem to believe this. But who will generate enough taxes to produce so many government jobs? These jobs will have to be produced, just as jobs in the private sector are. There is no wave of the magic wand.
To be able to go to Hyderabad Central twice a month, you need to slog it out like Ranjan Das. Hyderabad Central does not bother about government employees who do not have incomes on the side.
Ideally, "Zero Government" is the best. And "No Central Government" is much better. Why should a central government run a bloated establishment to collect money from everybody in each Telangana village, eat a lot of what is collected and allocate some for projects in Telangana?
The need for the government is to build infrastructure for common use. The need for the government is to make people pay for infrastructure. The need for the government is to take money from the rich and distribute it. Otherwise, there is no need of a government.
Now if an area is large, like AP, different regions have different strengths. Judiciously used, funds can be moved around to develop irrigation - a couple of more dams on Godavari, for example - to promote agriculture, and a few more flyovers to promote industry.
But the problem in Telangana is that agriculture is not paying because of dry lands, the education system was destroyed by the Nizams and their predecessors, and except for Hyderabad, the source of revenue for the government from the region is zero.
Hyderabad was produced by the efforts of a lot of people who saw that the land is fit for nothing but industry. Not many of them were from Telangana. The people of Telangana have it on a platter - jobs being created right at their doorstep. But many are not educated enough to be managers of Reliance Fresh.
Politicians are also saying that anybody rejected by Reliance Fresh will be given a job in the government. Is that the government we're looking for?
Remember, despite all the failings, YSR Reddy produced a master stroke and made sure people had power to irrigate their land. A scheme like no other. However some complain, asking why you can't give power during 10am to 4.30pm like in a government job. The problem with that approach is that if you can pay only for a hawai chappal that is what you get - not a Nike Air that is advertised by Tiger Woods.
You need more of that genius to ensure that more people in Telangana rise to the middle class. And, tell the rest that they have to work for it. Silently though, there is a whole generation of Telangana kids who have been brought to Hyderabad by their illiterate parents and are going to English medium schools. They will be in Cyberabad tomorrow, while the politicians will still be trying to coax people to give them power to grab land in and around Hyderabad.
If I am admitted to a hospital, my wife has to first swipe a debit card. And then, periodically, the hospital will ask us to produce more. KCR was taken to NIMS - Nizam orthopedic hospital was converted to NIMS by Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao who came home from the US on the invitation of NTR and converted it into a great medical institute. I am told that Dr. Subba Rao is not from Telangana.
KCR got admitted into NIMS - a non-Telangana hospital. Did anybody swipe a debit card? KCR and party virtually hired NIMS as a marriage hall cum TV studio cum party office cum residential place for so many days. He has been discharged today. Did the government collect the costs for the use of the infrastructure? Did the government do its duty? If not, why is it using taxes paid by many like me to convert a public hospital - that has to serve the poor - into a private TV studio, and not collect any charges for it?
R Ramanan came to Hyderabad in 1961, completed his B. Tech. from IIT Madras in 1976, and continues to live in this city
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not reflect the views of fullhyd.com