Governance is not about an elite few enforcing a top-down development model and expecting the benefits to trickle down. It is about putting the people at the centre of the decision-making process, reaching out to them in times of distress and swiftly resolving their problems by cutting through the maze of red tape. The test of leadership mettle lies in instilling confidence among the people who are marginalised and vulnerable. Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has set a fine example in people-centric governance by coming to the rescue of a distressed farmer in Mancherial district who had poured out his woes through a Facebook post. The Chief Minister personally called the farmer, Kondapalli Sharath, and assured him that he would get the benefits of Rythu Bandhu besides registration of details of his land on pattadar passbook. And, within no time, the entire district administration descended at his doorstep to resolve the problem. This unique gesture has created a positive impact across the State with more and more people taking to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, seeking government’s help to resolve their long-pending problems, a majority of them pertaining to land ownership and pattadar passbooks. A positive fallout of this pro-active approach is that the local administration would become more responsive to people’s needs. It would go a long way in eliminating corruption through active public involvement. The episode highlights the power of social media in taking the administration closer to the people and fighting corruption.
Revenue-related matters continue to be 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 Chief Minister has rightly appealed to Sharath to take the lead in creating public awareness about corruption and at the same time appreciating the good work by the administration. Overhauling the land records is a gigantic task. However, it is heartening to note that the Chief Minister has spoken about his commitment to take up fresh initiatives to resolve the pending land disputes pertaining to land records purification. In view of the Model Code of Conduct being in force now due to the coming Lok Sabha elections, the programme is expected to be taken up in June. Thanks to the Chief Minister’s swift response, several people have been flooding social media platforms narrating their grievances. And, a majority of those complaints hinted at corruption among field-level officials as one of the reasons for land ownership and other related issues remaining unresolved for years. The State government’s commitment to streamline land records and revenue administration system must be welcomed. It would help eliminate corruption and make revenue administration transparent and responsive.