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After 100 Days In Power Andhra Goes The E-Way

Updated: October 4, 2014 4:10 pm

The Andhra Pradesh government which completed 100 days in office on September 16 became the first in the country to hold an e-cabinet meet. What does this mean for ministers is that they don’t have to cart reams of papers and files, either carrying them themselves or getting an assistant to do it for them.

Taking a step further in e-governance, the Andhra Pradesh state Cabinet has now gone paperless. Wielding iPads in their hands, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his Council of Ministers conducted a meeting of what is being called “e-Cabinet”, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country. Holding iPads in their hands and with laptops on their laps, Naidu and his colleagues went about their business like professionals and consigned ‘cabinet notes & papers’ to the dustbin of history.

It was a regular meeting of the state Cabinet held on September 15, but uniqueness this time was that it was paperless, with the government switching over to the electronic format in conducting the proceedings. The agenda and the minutes of the meeting were all electronically recorded while power-point presentation was made on important subjects for an elaborate discussion.

It was a cakewalk for his tech-savvy ministers like Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Ganta Srinivasa Rao and Ravella Kishore Babu. However, for others like deputy chief ministers, N Chinna Rajappa and KE Krishna Murthy, and ministers Paritala Sunitha and Ch Ayyannapathrudu, it turned out to be a bit difficult.

KE Krishna Murthy, Chinna Rajappa, Sunitha and a few others had to take the help of technicians to follow Naidu on an app downloaded on their iPads. According to sources, during the marathon meeting that lasted for over four hours, Naidu told his colleagues that hereafter all the Cabinet meetings would be held in electronic format only.

“Henceforth, we must implement e-governance at all levels in the government. So, all of you must become computer literates and ensure that day-to-day affairs in all the departments are computerised,” Naidu was quoted as saying.

In the same breath, he directed the ministers to be more visible on internet, particularly on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. He also reportedly told them that while appraising their performance, he would lay emphasis on their activity on the social media. His e-governance mantra evoked mixed reactions from his colleagues.

Andhra Pradesh government, during Chandrababu’s previous stint as Chief Minister between 1995 and 2004, had been a pioneer in launching various e-governance initiatives. Now, during his current tenure, the Chief Minister is making use of the advances in technology like Cloud to further e-governance and the e-cabinet, which is a “momentous” initiative, the CMO sources pointed out.

For the e-cabinet, a new file-sharing system has been put in place using the FileCloud tool for ministers and top bureaucrats. After a recent trial run, the new system has been used for the first time and is expected to become a permanent feature of the Cabinet meetings from now on.

Sources said, Naidu told the ministers to submit to him “self-appraisal” reports on their performance. He was angry with them for not rising to his expectations. During the Cabinet meet, Naidu is understood to have expressed his displeasure over the ‘poor performance’ of some of his colleagues in the past 100 days. “I am not happy with some of you. I want you all to perform well. Those who won’t prove themselves will be taken to task,” Naidu is learnt to have warned them.

It is learnt that the Centre too has sought details of the e-cabinet concept from the state government. The four-hour cabinet meeting chaired by Chandrababu Naidu expressed satisfaction that it had succeeded in neutralising the gap between demand and supply of power and is now going ahead with green field power generation projects with the help of the central government.

Thrust to identify and set goals

During his 100 days, Chandrababu Naidu has devoted most of his time, thus far, to identify and set goals—whether it is zeroing in on Vijayawada as capital, searching for ways and means of implementing his crop loan waiver promise or chalking out plans to attract industries. Here is his progress card at a glance.

Rs 1.1 lakh crore are what Naidu wants from the Centre for the development of the State capital near Vijayawada. The Chief Minister has told the 14th Finance Commission that the initial estimate for the same is Rs 4 lakh crore and urged it to recommend to the Centre to chip in with Rs 1.1 lakh crore.

The Rs 12,000-crore outstanding debt is the State owes to the Centre. Naidu wants the Narendra Modi government to waive it. He has urged the Finance Commission to write off the debt besides granting special category status to the State and announcing a special package for the development of the backward Rayalaseema and North Andhra.

Naidu has drawn up plans to develop 13 towns besides Vijayawada as smart cities. He is also keen on developing three mega cities in the State—132 major and medium industries with an investment of Rs 782 crore in the offing, 12 major industries with an investment of Rs 12,380 crore and 200 more industries with employment potential of 10,000 jobs are also in the pipeline

Mega Aqua Food Park at Bhimavaram with an estimated investment Rs 300 crore; Mega Weaver clusters in Prakasam and Guntur districts are on the anvil. He has envisioned three international airports at Vijayawada, Visakh-aptanam and Tirupati; an airport in each district, metro rail project each in Visakhapatnam, Vijaya-wada and Tirupti.

Using his clout at the Centre, the Chief Minister has ensured removal of obstacles for construction of the Polavaram Project. The Centre issued an ordinance, transferring seven mandals in Khammam district to Andhra Pradesh. Naidu wants the project to be completed before 2019. He has decided to visits Chhattisgarh and Odisha for talks with his counterparts there for resolving inter-state disputes.

Grids to ensure LPG through pipes to kitchens, water grid to supply drinking water to all households, fibre optic grid to ensure internet connectivity to all power grid to help ease power shortage and provide supply to all villages and all sectors road grid to ensure road connectivity to all villages have chalked out.

Opposition flayed

The opposition flayed the 100-day regime of Chandrababu Naidu. Describing the 100-day term of TDP government as a flop show littered with a bundle of lies, unkept promises and unkempt governance benefiting the Chief Minister’s coterie, YSR Congress said it did not provide any succor to the farmers, women groups, pensioners, employees or other sections of the people.

“Chandrababu Naidu has been constantly deceiving the people by not fulfilling his core poll promises and has been on a self-boasting and pompous spree caring very little to the loan waiver and other promises and has been staking false claims with the help of his friendly media,” party official spokesperson Ambati Rambabu alleged.

Stating that Chandrababu Naidu has given nearly 200 assurances during his electioneering and another 300 during his padayatras, he said that not a single promise was fulfilled and his governance got just 25 on a scale of 100 during his 100 days of office.

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president Dr N Raghuveera Reddy described the 100 days of TDP rule as full of failures. He alleged that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had spoken of 101 lies during his 100-day tenure.

He said that the TDP government had failed to fulfill its promise of waiving off farmers debts and DWCRA loans. Further, no efforts were made to resolve the energy crisis. He claimed that Naidu had submitted an affidavit to the Election Commission promising that he would fulfill all the promises that he made in his manifesto.

By Ch narendra from Hyderabad

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