Hyderabad: Telangana is probably among the very few States in the country, if not the only one, that has not allowed the Covid-19 pandemic to completely overshadow other activities to keep the economy alive and kicking. If anything, the State government picked up a lesson or two post-March when the first lockdown was implemented and used them to its advantage. This is evident in the major policy decisions taken by the K Chandrashekhar Rao Cabinet on Wednesday.
Through the now 6-month-old and still continuing crisis that pushed the State’s economy, like elsewhere, into complete disarray, Chandrashekhar Rao maintained an annoyingly calm disposition that had the opposition in knots, and angry. The Chief Minister time and again asserted that the situation arising out of the spread of coronavirus in the State was under control and that panic was an uncalled for reaction.
Without taking away the focus from checking the spread of the virus, the State administration went about its job of strengthening the economy coupled with welfare of the people, not with a myopic view of short term benefits, but stressing on long term growth that would equip and prepare Telangana to exploit the potential that the post-Covid era is bound to throw up on several fronts.
Among the decisions taken at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, approval of three major policies pertaining to industry, e-vehicles and decongestion of the IT sector particularly come across as revolutionary as also a course-correction move. These moves have been made with heavy incentives that prospective investors and customers would find it difficult to ignore, and thereby ensuring the success of the policy-shift by the government.
Take the case of the new industrial policy, which emphasizes on employment generation for the locals, obviously a derivative of the problems faced during the lockdown period with a massive and restive migrant workforce stranded in the State. Under the new industrial policy, some categories of industries would be encouraged to setting aside certain percentage of skilled and semi-skilled jobs for locals to avail additional incentives, with an assurance that the required local manpower with necessary skill sets would be made available to them.
Similarly, the Grid policy for the fast-growing IT sector in Hyderabad, now mostly concentrated in West zone areas such as Gachibowli, Madhapur and Kondapur, seeks to decongest the burgeoning sector through additional incentives for IT investors willing to set up units in areas like Kompally, Uppal, Shamshabad and Osman Sagar, among others. This policy facilitates conversion of industrial parks in areas other than those in West zone into IT parks, giving developers the leeway of utilizing 50 per cent of space for development into housing and commercial purposes provided they develop space for IT companies in the remaining 50 per cent of land. This should work as a game-changer for real estate developers since they are being offered the best of both worlds.
What is perhaps the most significant move has been in the area of encouraging both production and use of e-vehicles in the State through incentives. The new e-vehicles policy perfectly complements Haritha Haram 6, the massive and ambitious green drive taken up by the State government. Merely increasing green cover in the State would not serve the purpose and achieve the end objective fully unless steps are taken to reduce air pollution across the State. That the government is dead serious about achieving this objective is evident from the kind of incentives it is offering to promote production and use of e-vehicles in the State, and the numbers covered under it are humongous. After all, who would not be interested in going in for an e-vehicle if one doesn’t have to pay any road tax or registration fee at all!