The Telangana government has commissioned a survey that appears to be aimed at ascertaining the number of Seemandhra natives in Hyderabad. The statewide exercise — ‘Samagra Kutumba Survey’ or ‘Intensive Household Survey 2014’ — will be undertaken in the state capital by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
While state officials said the aim is to identify families who are eligible for state government schemes, grants and aids, a few questions in the survey have raised eyebrows, with some doubting its real intention.
Three such questions shortlisted in the draft questionnaire are: “Which state have you come from?”, “What language do you speak?” and “When did you come here?” These three questions were not in the first draft questionnaire prepared by the government two weeks ago, but were introduced in the second draft. The one-day survey will be held on August 19, with preliminary test surveys on August 17 and 18. Nearly four lakh government employees will assist in the door-to-door survey.
“In other parts of Telangana, these three questions do not matter because not many people from outside the state live there. But in Hyderabad, it matters because of the large number of migrants from Seemandhra living here. This survey is tantamount to low-intensity targeting and singling out people from one particular state. This is one way of telling people where they belong,” HRD and Education Minister of the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, G Srinivasa Rao, said.
However, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Revenue Mohammed Ali said the statewide survey is only meant to identify and authenticate deserving beneficiaries of government schemes. “This survey has nothing to do with ascertaining anyone’s nativity. We want to create a fresh database of families who really deserve government support and this is an effort to update ourselves because otherwise, we have to depend on 2011 census statistics,’’ Ali said.
GHMC Commissioner Somesh Kumar said the survey’s primary aim is to establish the real economic status of families to ensure that bogus beneficiaries of government schemes are weeded out. “The questions do not seek to establish nativity in any way. The questionnaire will only help in establishing how many non-Telugus live in Telangana and not just GHMC area,” Kumar said.
Officials said that the government is concerned about a large number of bogus beneficiaries availing government schemes in the absence of a proper database of economic status of families. “We spend over Rs 4,000 crore on giving pensions. Some Rs 6,000 crore is spent on fee reimbursements, and Rs 1,200 crore is earmarked for food subsidies. But is all this going to real beneficiaries? Some people are objecting to a few questions but we will upload the questionnaire on our website next week and people will be able to see for themselves whether it is aimed at anything other than collecting information to ascertain beneficiaries of government schemes,” Ali said.