ANDHRA PRADESH

Congress promises responsive administration

HYDERABAD, JUNE 1. The policy outlines announced by the Governor, Surjit Singh Barnala, in his address to the Assembly today, mentioned that the Congress had played a key role in attaining freedom for the country and later in institutionalising democracy and, therefore, believed that the extremist problem in the State should be tackled democratically and holistically. It would be viewed from a larger socio-economic perspective.

While seeking to end the problem by dialogue, the Government would, as a panacea, also implement pro-poor and people-friendly schemes with a special thrust on remote and backward areas. The Government would be "honest, efficient, clean, responsive and transparent." The Governor ascribed the problem of left wing extremism to fall in agriculture incomes on which 80 per cent of the population depended, leading to unemployment.

The Governor said as part of the thrust given to agriculture for increasing the farm production by 40 per cent in the next five years within the present landholdings and other constraints, "precision techniques" would be adopted, and cost of cultivation brought down apart from setting up an Agriculture Technology Mission which would oversee the entire activity. Education programmes would be taken up to prepare farmers for WTO regime.

Other priorities high on the agenda would be extension of credit to farmers at affordable interest rate through a comprehensive package and ensuring minimum support price to all farm produce.

On irrigation, a pre-requisite for successful farming, the document mentioned 30 pending projects, with a commitment to complete Srisailam Right Bank Canal by this month-end, and KC Canal modernisation by 2006. The issue of Tungabhadra Parallel Canal, conceived for making up the loss to the State due to siltation in this dam, would be taken up with the Karnataka Government.

Regarding power sector, the Governor said all habitations in the State would be electrified in three years.

The document spoke of identifying income-generation activity, vocational training to DWCRA women and creation of marketing facilities for their products but skirted the issue of reducing interest rate for them to 3-5 per cent as promised by the Congress during the elections. It only assured them of "proper flow of credit from banks."

In the light of the heavy migration to cities, it would be the "priority" of the Government to establish satellite townships. The current policy on urban land ceiling would be reviewed.

On health, the Governor said that the private healthcare system would be regulated through legal and administrative steps to ensure free benefit to the poor.

On industries, the document highlighted the "significant role" played by industries and infrastructure in 1970-90 with the establishment of a large number of units and referred to "considerable drop" in the activity in the last 10 years with increased sickness and closures. These units would be nursed back to health.