Centre's volte-face on Mission Bhagiratha award blatantly political, not factual

The Union Ministry of Jal Shakti has unmasked itself by making a dramatic volte-face with regard to its award to 'Mission Bhagiratha'

Mission Bhagiratha

Mission Bhagiratha

HYDERABAD: The Union Ministry of Jal Shakti has unmasked itself by making a dramatic volte-face with regard to its announcement of an award for Telangana's flagship scheme 'Mission Bhagiratha'. This is blatantly political than factual.

It may be recalled that the Union Government announced the Jal Jeevan Mission Award on September 28.

The contradiction given by the Centre to what's published in media is indeed crass. It consists of self-contradictory statements in quick succession — that it had not reviewed the Mission Bhagiratha scheme and "No assessment of Mission Bhagiratha has been carried out by this department."

The 'uncalled for' statement says in the same breath in the next sentence itself that "It is also pertinent to state here that under the 'Functionality Assessment 2022' carried out by this department to assess functionality of tap water connection against the JJM norms of 55 lcpd and quality as per BIS 10500 standards."

They took 12,570 households as samples. When the 'corrective rejoinder' was issued, the Union Jal Shakti Ministry stated that "8% HHs were getting less than 55 litres per capita per day of drinking water." There could have been multiple issues that might have crept into the safe drinking water system that had affected the supply during the reference time, even if the Centre's contention were to be factored in as genuine. This is nothing but a conscious attempt of 'nitpicking' with an unfair intent to humiliate a State that has been bagging many an award since 2014. It is nothing short of mischief, for no scheme that involves a large geography, multiple stakeholders and a huge population can be 100 percent foolproof sans leakages.

Can't politics be kept away in recognitions?

If political differences are there between the parties running the State and the Centre, shouldn't that be restricted to politics only? The BJP-led Union Government, after drawing the battle lines with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), has begun arm-twisting the State only to imperil the latter's development and welfare schemes. The fracas created by the Centre to asphyxiate Telangana in the name of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, despite the State having adequate headroom to raise funds, is just a case in point.

Telangana has outperformed the Centre on many a front, including respective gross domestic products (GSDP-GDP); and sprinted ahead of other States in terms of contribution to the national exchequer (fourth largest contributor among states to national economy according to the Reserve Bank of India) and won laurels and awards from the same Union Government in Swachch Sarvekshan, growth in Information Technology job creations, and exports. The achievement are countless. Even the TRS leadership set aside its political differences with the BJP and welcomed the pats on its back on the numerous fronts gracefully.

The JJM Award fiasco by the Centre impaled it's nefarious designs. For, the Centre couldn't tinker with the numbers in the parameters of other achievements as thorough audits are done for all claims. The details furnished to the independent assessors cannot be fudged. In this case, the flaws showed itself is flawed and laid bare the coercive correction.

Telangana should consider 'award wapsi'

Well, the State Government too didn't take it lying down. The Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development & Rural Water Supply Errabelli Dayakar Rao strongly condemned the puerile argument put up by the Centre with respect to some procedural issues. He sought to know as to why had the Centre mentioned Telangana as a state providing safe drinking water through 100 percent tap connections in its website.

Politically motivated decisions of announcement of awards and the 'corrections' do not augur well for the Centre-State relations. As it is, the Centre has been exposed for adopting different policies for different states in respect of paddy procurement only to denigrate the achievement of Telangana's record as the new granary of India.

If things are stretched beyond the yield point, in this deleterious atmosphere, Telangana Government must consider an "award wapsi" and return the award announced in whatever category under JJM. Maybe, it insinuates its indignation against the insult, but it surely proves its righteousness against the Centre's innuendos.

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