Demand for Utmost Transparency during the division process
Informed Transition leads to equity and justice
Now that the Union Government has decided to bifurcate the state of Andhra Pradesh into two states of AP and Telangana, the transition phase and the division process should be open and transparent.
All transitional decisions and transactions need to be brought into public glare and debate, on either side of the divide. This is going to be a difficult phase for both sides since there would be many claims and counter claims. People can be easily misled by politicians, political parties and officialdom. An open process can scotch rumours and misunderstandings, and can encourage the flow of positive and public interest-oriented suggestions. Voiceless, disempowered and poor sections, including dalits, women and children, need space to learn and contribute. Demerger discussions cannot be left to video news channels, anchors, political parties and bureaucrats. If the process of division has to be peaceful and amicable, it is imperative that the entire process of this division is transparent and facts are presented to public at every stage.
With lesser trust on politicians of all hues, people should have access to independent information systems, to address their questions, grievances and apprehensions. Demerger process of Telangana should include public consultation process, at every major stage. Union government should initiate a proactive information disclosure mechanisms with regard to major issues such as water sharing, Hyderabad, public debts, revenue sharing, government jobs, etc.. Government can also explore the possibility of starting a HelpLine, where information individual apprehensions and worried about jobs, assets, land, etc., can be shared. Question and answer sessions can be organized frequently.
People, on either side of the divide, need to be apprised about the Constitutional process of demerger. Representatives of civil society, including academics, voluntary organizations and NGOs, need to be made part of the process. Persons with knowledge, expertise and secular outlook should be involved in the process. Responding to queries of MPs and MLAs alone does not help, in reducing tensions, rumours and apprehensions.
Even as per Sec 4(1)(c) and 4(1)(d) of the Right to Information act (RTI), the government is mandated to proactively and mandatorily publish all publish all relevant facts while formulating important policies or announcing the decisions which affect public. It also has to provide reasons for its administrative decisions to affected persons.
We as RTI activists demand the following from the Union and State Government
Open a dedicated website where the following are published
Details of assets of the state and its liabilities including government lands across the state etc.
Details of state revenue with department wise and district wise breakup.
Details of Electricity Generation and consumption sector wise and district wise
Details of loans availed by Government of AP from various sources and how these loans were used.
Details of river water usage across various districts
Details of amounts spent on various irrigation projects in the last 30 years and their state of completion
Details of domicile of Government employees and procedures of the division that is going to take place
Also publish the above facts in the form of a booklet that can be bought by public.
Place these booklets at all important government offices starting from the mandal level as part of proactive disclosures for the consumption of general public.
Invite public to share their opinion/views in decisions of resource sharing.
Publish all decision making and division procedures and contacts of officials.
Publish all relevant details about investments in Hyderabad in the form of public Infrastructure, Industries, employment in Public Industries etc region wise.
We will also form a committee with likeminded individuals and organizations that will monitor the entire transition and division process. In this regard, we will also organize a round table to kick start this process.
B Ramakrishnam Raju, Convenor – UFRTI
Rakesh Dubbudu, Co-Convenor, UFRTI
D Narasimha Reddy, Chetana Society