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YSR starts second stint with pro-poor schemes

By Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad
May 20, 2009 16:32 IST
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Y S Rajasekhara Reddy will start his second stint as the Andhra Pradesh chief minister by signing two files implementing pro-poor and welfare schemes. One scheme deals with increasing the amount of cheap rice for poor families from 20 kg per month to 30 kg while the second once will increase the duration of free electricity supply to farmers from seven hours to nine hours per day.
At the beginning of his first tenure as chief minister, Reddy had chosen to sign on the  file which dealt with the supply of free electricity to farmers.
The increase in the quantum of rice to families living below the poverty line would mean that these families will not have to buy any more rice from the open market to supplement the subsidised rice. But a question mark remains on the increased supply of free electricity to the farmers.
The state is presently reeling under severe power shortage and the government has not even been able to keep its promise of supplying electricity for seven hours.

Many farmers complain that they were receiving the electricity supply in two or three phases, somtimes in the middle of the night, making their job even more difficult. The fluctuation in the voltage was another major complaint.
Due to the twin measures promised by the CM, the burden on the exchequer is bound to go up. While the state government will have to shell out Rs 4000 crore per annum more for its rice scheme, the expenditure on electricity will also increase considerably from the earlier Rs 5000 crore.
Most people who turned up to see YSR Reddy taking oath for the second term said that they were happy with the welfare schemes of the government, including the pension schemes and free health insurance for the poor.

"We are confident that YSR will further improve these schemes," said P Damodar, who had traveled all the way from Medak.
"I am hopeful that the Abhay Hastam scheme will be implemented and women like me will get the promised pension of Rs 500 per month," said S Satyamma from Nalgonda district, about the scheme which is applicable for women above 55 years.

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Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad