Governance is all about putting the interests of the people at the heart of the policymaking process. The landmark reforms in the revenue administration, initiated by the Telangana government, serve as a perfect illustration of the transformative power of a public policy. The ball is now in the people’s court as the full potential of this revolutionary step can be realised with their total involvement and participation. The best intentions of any government are reflected in the laws they make but the ultimate success of these legislations depends on the level of cooperation from people who are the stakeholders in the development process. For decades, revenue-related matters remained the major area of public concern in rural areas, with bureaucratic delays, corruption and deep-rooted bias compounding the woes of the disadvantaged sections. The discretionary powers of the lower-rung revenue officials in land-related matters often turn out to be a nightmare for the people. The drastic overhaul of the revenue department will now usher in a new dawn in rural Telangana. Overhauling the land records and digitising them has been a gigantic task. The TRS government deserves praise for carrying out reforms on a scale that no other State has attempted. A set of four Bills, introduced in the Assembly, seeks to completely transform the revenue administration, making it transparent, responsive and effective. It would go a long way in eliminating corruption through active public involvement.
Given the far-reaching implications and the transformative potential, the introduction of these Bills in the Assembly—Telangana Abolition of the Posts of VROs Bill, Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Passbooks Bill, Telangana Municipal Laws (Amendment) Bill and Telangana Panchayat Raj (Amendment) Bill — is truly a historic occasion. Its significance can only be compared with the birth of the Telangana State over six years ago after a prolonged struggle and sacrifices. No wonder that people from all walks of life have overwhelmingly welcomed the reforms. The passage of the Bills will eliminate the problems faced by the public, particularly farmers and poorer sections, in registering their lands. Though some tentative efforts were made in the past to put in place land reforms in the combined Andhra Pradesh, they could not solve the core problems on the ground with people continuing to face issues in matters related to their lands and disputes lingering on for decades. The removal of discretionary powers vested with the officials at different levels and ensuring a transparent and corruption-free land dealings form the key features of the present set of reforms. The enactment of the legislations would ensure that all the revenue courts would be abolished and people need to approach civil courts for resolution of disputes.
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