Community development is a process where the members of a particular community come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. It is a way of empowering the community. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has been spot on in recognizing this necessity as is evident from the various measures he has initiated in the recent past for the development and welfare of Schedule Castes, Schedule Tribes, Backward Classes and minorities. The Chief Minister’s impassioned call to political parties to set aside their differences and work for the development of these communities and the setting up of SC and ST Committees comprising lawmakers from all parties to come up with suggestions for optimal utilization of funds under the SC/ST Sub Plan are gestures that speak volumes of his commitment to bring about a serious and necessary change in the communities. After all, they account for 85 per cent of Telangana’s population and have not received the kind of attention proportionate to their population in the past. The meeting that the Chief Minister had with SC, ST MPs, MLAs and MLCs of all parties to seek their opinion on various issues facing the communities is in itself a first of its kind exercise. Rao, while setting up the committees comprising SC and ST lawmakers in the course of the meeting, made it clear that the days of others taking decisions on the welfare of SCs and STs were over and that he wanted the active involvement of public representatives who alone should decide on the needs of the committees. Rao has been consistent in identifying the needs of various communities, and more importantly addressing them. Such initiatives are few and far apart these days, and deserve appreciation.
Given the Chief Minister’s open approach, it didn’t come as a surprise that the Opposition lawmakers heaped praise on him. It was interesting and definitely a welcome development when the Congress deputy floor leader in the State Assembly, Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, a vociferous critic of the Chief Minister who was also involved in the formulation of the SC/ST Sub Plan, congratulated Rao for taking the initiative for successful implementation of the Sub Plan. Another Congress MLA, Sampath Kumar, even went to the extent of describing the meeting as a revolutionary exercise not undertaken by any government in the past. The Chief Minister did step in to suggest it was too early for accolades and that they should be reserved for future when a perceptible change can be seen in the lives of SC and ST communities. As Vikramarka put it, a good beginning has been made, and it needs to be commended.