Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

The one thing which stands out after observing Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy‘s address at the collectors conference on Monday, is the ring of sincerity and honesty which it carried. There was a clear sense of commitment as reflected in his decision to demolish the illegal construction undertaken by the TDP government, Praja Vedika. His question to the officials in the hall was pertinent—if government resorts to illegal constructions, what sort of message is being sent to the people at large? YS Jagan also told the collectors that while they should treat MLAs with utmost respect since they are people’s representatives, they should not yield to any unlawful, improper request involving a corrupt, wrong practice. This is something commendable.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister also said that there was no need to keep government orders confidential and asked the officials to place all proceedings and orders in public domain. Five years ago, when Chandrababu Naidu addressed the district collectors and told them explicitly that his party men’s work should get done at any cost, his words evoked consternation.

People are now surprised at YS Jagan‘s clear directions in the opposite direction, striking a new path and giving a roadmap to the administration. The surprise element is in the contrasting approaches taken by the two chief ministers. While Chandrababu Naidu with 40 years of experience as he claimed, directed the collectors to follow the diktats of TDP men, YS Jagan, in contrast, with barely month’s experience as chief minister, told the officials clearly that benefits of welfare schemes should reach all the targeted sections without any kind of discrimination of region, religion, caste or party.

This proves that a leader should have sincerity of purpose and that seniority is irrelevant. His commitment counts. The clarity he has when it comes to serving the people of the state is important, more than anything else.

Chandrababu Naidu not only constructed Praja Vedika in brazen violation of all rules and regulations, but also wanted the government to hand it over to him. In contrast, YS Jagan built a house for himself as per rules and building laws.

Addressing the collectors, YS Jagan asked them as to what the common citizens’ fate was if governments themselves resort to illegal constructions. The illegal construction is being demolished, but it was built with more than eight crore rupees of taxpayers’ money. Who will pay for this and how will it be recovered is the big question now. Will those who spent public money for such illegal constructions be let off?

As YS Jagan had promised during the course of his Padayatra, welfare schemes would be implemented without any kind of discrimination with respect to region, religion, caste or party. This deserves to be welcomed and lauded. His advice to collectors to greet people with a smile and to ensure transparency, is commendable.

The Chief Minister also emphasised the importance of rolling out welfare schemes based on the Navaratnalu manifesto and said that all officials and ministers must have a copy. It must be said that YS Jagan is probably the only chief minister in 70 years of independent India who has highlighted the importance of implementation of the manifesto in toto to ensure that welfare schemes percolate to the last individual in the state.

In contrast to Chandrababu Naidu‘s marathon speeches, YS Jagan spoke briefly and gave clear directions to the collectors.By including himself among those who are accountable for the delivery of promises and commitments, the chief minister showed that, in a democracy, officials and ministers in government and the Chief Minister are actually responsible and are stakeholders in governance.

YS Jagan motivated not only government officials, but also the political class in Andhra Pradesh. As he pointed out, Andhra Pradesh would set an example to other states if it moves forward along the lines indicated by the chief minister in the days to come. This requires tremendous hard work and commitment on the part of all stakeholders. Andhra Pradesh has now been given a clear roadmap to move forward at a fast pace on the path of growth and development. It is for the officials at all levels to take this forward.

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