Revenue reforms: Is KCR doing an NTR?

Revenue reforms: Is KCR doing an NTR?

Over the last one month, the tussle between revenue department officials and Telangana Chief Minister and TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao has gotten worse after the CM has been taking up steps to usher in reforms which could solve the land disputes. The tension between the revenue employees and the CM is not a new one. While KCR has been adamant and has not been granting an appointment to these officials, they have tried to use other influential people who could put a word to the Chief Minister about their woes.

Much to their dismay, KCR has decided to go ahead with his own plans. However, one really doesn't understand if the new reforms promised by KCR would reduce or eliminate corruption or the current disputes. The TRS Chief's idea is not a new one. During his Chief Ministership in united Andhra Pradesh after Telugu Desam Party swept into power, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) had taken up similar reforms in the revenue department.

He had replaced the five-tier structure in the department with a four-tier one. This later paved way for the Mandal Parishad reforms, with the abolishing of village accountants in 1985. Despite triggering protests from revenue officials and those who lost jobs, this move of NTR was received well by people who were looking for a solution for land disputes.

However, in case of KCR, he has not made any specific announcements apart from the need for an inclusive title for land holders, with respect to the changes he has promised to initiate in the revenue department. While he has made it clear that he is hell-bent on taking up the reforms, political observers say that corruption in government is also linked to political corruption.

''You cannot be blind to political corruption and expect it to be eliminated by bringing in reforms in the government and think that everything will be hunky-dory. Corruption is also encouraged by the political class,'' said an observer who did not wish to be named. On the other hand, KCR also needs to understand that there is no acceptance for his reforms among the employees which could prove politically disastrous for him in the years ahead.

While KCR's promises seem utopian, without addressing the problem of political corruption, a lot of information points to how he is taking a leaf out of NTR's administration and reforms.

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