Hyderabad: After the nine years of Telugu Desam rule in united Andhra Pradesh during 1995 to 2003, Congress party came to power with a thumping majority and of course with a spree of welfare schemes for the people.
People of the state heaved a sigh of relief after a long and distressful rule of the Telugu Desam. Immediate after coming to power Congress government started working for the welfare of people as per the poll promises.
The first file signed by the then chief minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy was a file related to power bills arrears and free power supply. The blanket benefit under this scheme extended to all the 23 lakh agriculture pumpsets in the State regardless of the extent of landholding, type of crop and land, pumpset capacity and whether farmer is big or small. People of the state, especially ryots were benefited with the scheme undisputedly for many years down the line.
The Congress rule has stopped the previous government’s move to privatize several public sector undertakings like electricity, RTC and others, thus securing the livelihoods and labor rights of thousands of workers and eventually their families dependent upon them.
Congress government has introduced loans for women Self Help Groups on a mere 25 paise interest. This has strengthened the household economies of thousands of families across the state irrespective of caste and social background.
On the other hand it has introduced Arogyashri health scheme which undoubtedly benefited thousands of poor families and provided a corporate health care facilities on nominal payments for years. This scheme has been in the implementation in both the states now.
Similarly, another scheme for emergency services 108 was started across the state which has saved thousands of lives in the state. The 108 service started in the united AP was later emulated by other states in the country.
In another bold step the Congress government has introduced a reservation for socially and educationally backward Muslim communities in the state within 57 days of it coming to power. So far people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are benefiting by the reservations.
In the education sector, Congress government has introduced Scholarship scheme for students of schools, junior college and other higher learning centers to promote education. This has led to increase in the number of students at every level and rehabilitated the dying government run institutions in the state.
Fee reimbursement scheme was introduced for higher education in the state during Congress regime has resulted in a large number of students enrolling for higher studies.
In order to provide a modest living to the poor families Congress government has started Indramma Housing scheme under which thousands of families has got their dream homes. It was the most successful scheme in the state and was applauded by the then union government.
It was because of the welfare schemes of the Congress government in the state that it could manage to defeat the Mahakutami (Greater Alliance) in the 2009 Assembly Elections.
With Congress led UPA in the power at Centre, State Congress government was able to bring in more funds for the state as well as the central schemes. National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was one such central government scheme.
Altogether, the Congress regime in the state could be considered as the Golden Era of the state.