Pandemic, smear campaign, calamities, promises kept….
The year began with YSR Aarogyasri scope being widened and came to a close with distribution of house site pattas to poor and in between there was much more than what any normal bygone year would offer.
Smooth rolling of welfare activities, Corona pandemic redefining lifestyle and altering dynamics of sustainability, calamities, natural and otherwise that have left a trail unpleasantness, passing of landmark legislations, legal tangles, gas leak, outbreak of a mystery ailment– the year has seen it all and the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government has dealt with each issue effectively.
Distribution of house sites for the poor has waded through many tangles getting postponed on numerous occasions and the grit of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has seen through the event materializing and the fortnight-long distribution of house sites to 31 lakh people started on December 25 and it will go on well into the next year.
About one-tenth of the eligible beneficiaries could not get the benefit due to legal issues and the capital hurdle being stalling the programme at Amaravati depriving 54,000 poor of their rightful share as vested interests have moved Court on the grounds of demographic imbalance.
The year has also seen the decision to install 125 feet Statue of Dr BR Ambedkar in heart of Vijayawada city and develop it as a memorial park and Polavarm, all set to be ready on time with the Chief Minister moving all knobs, time and again pressurizing the Centre for funds and working on the R & R package which was totally ignored by the previous regimes. Legislations were passed and some were reiterated in the State Assembly to pursue the issue like decentralization of administration making Visakhapatnam as Executive Capital, Amaravati, the Legislative Capital and Kurnool, the Judicial Capital. Some other issues too seem to have run into rancour during the year.
The clash of institutions sparked on certain occasions was propagated with ulterior motives and there was a smear campaign against the Government launched by paper tigers, who could not make it big in the parliamentary system. Remarks made it to the headlines, proceedings taking precedence over rulings and the Chief Minister had written a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on the happenings in the State.
The gag order on FIR on the irregularities and insider trading in Amaravati land scam hit the national headlines and the year had seen legislature, executive and judiciary in news for reasons which need not be discussed in detail, giving due respect to all the institutions.
The local bodies elections took off with the notification and when the ruling party was winning seats unanimously and when Corona was not yet a pandemic, the elections were postponed unilaterally and issue went into the legal chambers.
The year has the dubious distinction as many wanted it to be forgotten quickly but will be frozen in history for its nature of intensity and impact on economy, lifestyle, human relations and medicare. The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government had tackled the issue well and in the Video Conferences the Prime Minister Narendra Modi held with Chief Ministers, it clear was that we are far ahead that others in logistics, recovery rate and higher number of tests. At the end of the year, Andhra Pradesh has been chosen as one of the four states for a dry run of the storage and distribution of Covid vaccine which is a sure indication that the steps taken by the State to contain Covid were effective.
The Assembly has passed the Disha Bill (incorporating amendments) which provides expeditious trial in cases of crime against women and children and setting up of special courts for the purpose. Resurvey of land has been the other major initiative of the government taken up to measure every inch of land on the plains in association with Survey of India and a big contingent of surveyors was appointed and trained for the purpose.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Nellore on March 12, where a 24-year-old was tested positive for coronavirus, after his return from Italy. The State adopted a three-pronged strategy of trace, test and treat to contain the spread and intensity of COVID 19 and had successfully utilised the vast network of Village and Ward secretariats in identifying COVID patients and conducting tests, which were highest in the country crossing 1.10 crore. About 16 crore masks were distributed and YSR Telemedicine has addressed the medical needs during the times of pandemic. Free ration was supplied twice a month and Rs 2,000 was given as financial assistance to those who completed quarantine. To help migrant workers who are walking hundreds of kilometers on highways to reach their hometowns, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy arranged intra-state bus services for migrants, and let them travel for free. Also, to encourage Plasma donation from COVID 19 cured patients, the government offered to pay Rs 5,000 incentive to the donors. The State purchased agricultural, horticultural produce including the perishable goods directly from the farmers, included Covid under YSR Aarogyasri and made arrangements for export of aqua products. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has flagged off 1088 ambulance vehicles strengthening emergency responsive care in State.
Kanakadurga flyover and Benz Circle flyover in Vijayawada were inaugurated by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari jointly paving way to even congestion. Foundation stones were laid for four fishing harbours and 25 aqua hubs coinciding with World Fisheries Day on November 21 and make best possible use of the long coastline.
On the irrigation front, water from Polavaram is poised to gush for 2022 khariff while Chief Minister made a hectic parleys with the Centre. Other irrigation projects, Chitravathi dam and Gandikota reservoirs are being utilised at full capacity, after completing the R&R works. Three reservoirs Muttala, Thopudurthi, and Devarakonda reservoirs, Somasila High level canal phase 2, YSR Vedadri lift irrigation and other projects are being actively pursued. The yea has seen good rainfall and even grey zones like Anantapur received water flowing down.
The State government had signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)s with various companies in fields like agriculture, retail, marketing, dairy sectors. To encourage natural farming procedures in the state the government signed an MoU with German firm KFW representatives regarding Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF). A MoU with Immunologix India Private Limited(IGY) was signed for setting up of a vaccine manufacturing unit at Pulivendula. To strengthen the dairy sector and to encourage women entrepreneurs, beneficiaries of YSR Cheyutha and YSR Asara schemes, the state signed MoU with AMUL, corporate giants ITC, P&G, HUL; Reliance Retail, Jio and Allana group and others for the social and economic empowerment of women.
The welfare schemes rolled out during the year include, Ammavodi, Jagananna Gorumudda, YSR Zero Interest SHG), Jagananna Vasati Devena, Jagananna Vidya Deevena, One time financial assistance to Archakas, Imams & Pastors, MSME Restart package, Jagananna Chedodu , YSR Sampoorna Poshana, YSR Cheyutha, YSR Aasara, Jagananna Vidya Kanuka, YSR Zero Interest (Farmers), Jagananna Jeeva Kranthi, YSR Free Crop Insurance, Free house sites for poor among others.
Through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) the state has transferred Rs 28,906 Crore benefiting 1,77,09,653 people during the 2019-20 financial year, and during 2020-21 up to November, the government disbursed Rs 33,483 Crore through DBT benefiting 3,14,06,765 people in State.
Political empowerment and reservations to women in nominated posts and nominated works like never before in the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government. The 56 BC Corporations has seen empowerment in the true sense. In the Rajya Sabha elections, two of the four seats were given to BCs with Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose and Mopidevi Venkataramana making it to the Parliament.
The year had also seen a gas leak from LG Polymers in Vizag, leaving 11 dead and the State has paid exgraia of Rs 1 crore to the kin of the deceased immediately and compensated the other injured besides taking strict measures. The outbreak of mystery illness at Eluru was tackled well with experts from AIIMS, NIN, IICT, ICMR and WHO who studied the cases, giving their reports pointing out that there were particulates of lead and nickel in the water. The issue is being addressed to. A massive fire broke out at Swarna Palace hotel, which was hired by Ramesh Hospitals. The Chief Minister paid an exgratia of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of the deceased and the matter has also went into the legal echelons.
Popular playback singer SP Balasubramanyam, Tirupati MP Balli Durga Prasad Rao have passed away this year.
In Sports, the Indian Team comprising Koneru Humpy, Dronavali Harika Harikrisha from the State besides Vishwanathan Anand, Divya, Nihal and Vidit split the gold with Russian in the Fide online Chess Olympiad.
Welfare, Corona, Welfare during Corona, empowerment of weaker sections, DBT showing transparency besides the effective functioning of village and ward secretariat system have been the highlights of 2020 besides the biased campaign and the runaway Opposition leadership was taking refuge in Zoom and Twitter.