Governance is not about a small elitist group handing out top-down policy prescriptions, but it is about a caring and empathetic leadership adopting a bottom-up approach to fulfil the aspirations of the people and make a real difference in their lives. The success of any governance model will depend on how much the leadership cares for the needs of various sections of the people. The large-heartedness shown by the Telangana government towards its employees and contract workers serves as a role model in good governance. Despite the difficult financial situation due to the pandemic, the government has gone the extra mile in meeting the requirements of employees and pensioners. By giving a 30% hike in salary, enhancing the retirement age from 58 to 61 years and offering a 25% hike in gratuity from Rs 12 lakh to Rs 16 lakh, it has exceeded the expectations and done something that no State can match. Importantly, the contract and outsourced employees get the benefits on a par with regular staff, a prospect that was unthinkable in the combined Andhra Pradesh. As a result of the latest decision, over 9 lakh employees, including home guards, Anganwadi and ASHA workers, village administrative officers and daily wage workers will benefit. Increasing the retirement age marks the fulfilment of one of the key election promises of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). No wonder that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is hailed as a true friend of employees.
The employees had played a stellar role in the Telangana Statehood movement and made a lot of sacrifices. Since the formation of the State in 2014, there has been a conscious and concerted effort to empower various sections of society, including protecting the interests of the employees in the lower rung, in an integrated manner. Unlike the piecemeal approach of the successive regimes in the past, the TRS government made a policy shift, focusing on changing the entire ecosystem. Be it the schemes that helped transform the lives of farmers or the programmes to assist those who depend on traditional occupations, the performance of Telangana has been exemplary, so much so that several States have expressed keenness to emulate these policies. This refreshing approach to transform the ecosystem of the rural areas and empower various social groups in an integrated manner has set the tone for all-round development of the State. If Telangana is what it is today – a State marching ahead on all fronts– it is because of the political will and commitment to develop the State and bring prosperity to all sections of the people. A strong developmental narrative is already in place with the benefits reaching every section in a measurable way.