Small districts carved out on scientific basis
The entire exercise was conducted in a most scientific and democratic manner, giving top priority to public opinion, says the writer Vanam Jwala Narasimha Rao
The process of reorganisation of districts in Telangana has reached its final stage, as the government issues final notification and the stage is set to launch new districts in the next 24 hours. With reorganisation of districts, mandals and revenue divisions, Telangana State will be making history in administrative reforms. The process of reorganisation of districts was started a year ago and since then, the government held parleys at different levels before arriving at a decision.
Contrary to the allegations by some people, the government has followed all democratic principles. The decision to carve out new districts was not taken without proper homework as alleged. In fact, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had discussed the issue at length with Telangana ideologue Prof Jayashankar and others even before the State bifurcation was formally announced and TRS made a promise (districts’ reorganisation) in its manifesto.
In fulfilling the promise, the government has given a long rope to every stakeholder to expresses his or her opinion without giving any room for political considerations. There was no truth in the allegation that the government had conducted the process in a hurried and hushed-up manner. In fact, the entire exercise was conducted in a most scientific and democratic manner, giving top priority to public opinion.
Ever since the TRS government came to power, the State has been making strides in all spheres and the government has introduced a number of schemes and programmes to alleviate poverty. However, it is also true that the fruits of the welfare schemes are not reaching the targeted groups properly due to administrative blockades. As a remedy, the government has taken up reorganisation of districts, with a firm belief that smaller administrative units would enable the government to reach out to the people.
Keeping these factors in mind, the Chief Minister had rolled out the process a year back and directed the chief secretary to prepare an action plan to carve out new districts, mandals and revenue divisions. The Chief Minister insisted on following scientific and democratic norms in letter and spirit and he also made it clear that the bottom line should be administrative convenience and administrative ease, convenience, betterment and development of the people.
It may be recalled here that whenever he talked on the subject, he used to say that the final decision on new districts would not be against the wishes of the people. If we look back, the process started with constitution of secretaries’ committee headed by the chief secretary in September 2015. The other members of the committee are Revenue, Panchayat Raj, Municipal Administration secretaries and CCLA.
As a follow-up action, the government constituted a Cabinet Sub-committee headed by Deputy Chief Minister and Revenue Minister Mohammed Ali and another Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari, Ministers Etela Rajendar, Tummala Nageswara Rao and Jupally Krishna Rao as members and chief secretary Rajiv Sharma as convenor.
The committee headed by the chief secretary carried out the exercise on all administrative matters involved in reorganisation of districts and the Cabinet Sub-committee, on its part, conducted district-wise meetings to elicit public opinion. Another high-powered committee was constituted under the chairmanship of K Keshava Rao, MP. The Chief Minister also held an all-party meeting prior to the release of the draft notification. All political parties participated in the meeting and the leaders welcomed the move.
The government even accepted certain suggestions on bifurcation of revenue divisions and mandals. The Chief Minister also assured them that all their suggestions will be taken into account while preparing the final draft. The government took into consideration every suggestion made at the all-party meeting. Finally, the government constituted a task force headed by the chief secretary to finalise administrative departments and their function in the new set-up.
The Chief Minister has made all efforts to complete the process in a transparent manner. He held numerous meeting with Collectors, heads of departments, secretaries and other officials. The Chief Minister told the district Collectors that the time has come for them to play a more proactive role in development activities. The Chief Minister took interest in every aspect, including functions of the Collectors and district administration, facilities at the Collectorates and other offices and other minute things.
The Chief Minister openly shared his ideas even on issues such as parking facility, helipad and fibre connectivity. The government prepared a road map at a high level meeting held in last June where Ministers, officials and MPs, MLAs, MLCs and other people’s representatives discussed all aspects in detail. The government took every stakeholder into confidence in finalising the road map. Nothing was left without proper scrutiny. Nowhere in the lengthy process had the Chief Minister taken a liberal stand.
In fact, the Chief Minister told the officials and others that “there is no thumb rule, only liberal”. The Chief Minister gave a free hand to the officials in finalising administrative structure in new districts. Having said that, it is imperative to repeat the total exercise has been done in a most democratic and scientific manner. The objective of the reorganisation is administrative ease, convenience, betterment and development of the people. Finally, small is beautiful is the universally accepted principle of administration.
(The writer is CPRO to CM)