The Andhra Pradesh government has been trying every trick to meet its mounting expenses. However, all those efforts seem to be of no use, and, making matters worse, they also create utter confusion among the officials, resulting in further loss to the exchequer. The latest experiment that AP has undertaken is to bring the taxes and registration departments into the fold of the finance department, a practice unheard in the state administration for decades. The task has been entrusted to a secretary-level officer, N. Gulzar, which came as a shock to many officials. They are said to be wondering how such a change can improve the state finances. They feel that the move will certainly increase red-tapism as the finance department is already loaded with pending files and anything more will only add to further delays.
KTR joins foul-mouthed club
TRS working president and IT minister K.T. Rama Rao, may be unwillingly, has joined the race of ranters, apparently to survive among aggressive leaders of Opposition parties. Rama Rao had carved a place for himself during the Telangana agitation and subsequently in the government led by his father K. Chandrashekar Rao. Smart, sophisticated and a go-getter, Rama Rao won the hearts of many, particularly the urban middle class and the elite. Active on social media, the minister used them to convey his views, ideas and highlight his efforts besides lending a helping hand to the needy. He has also been credited with success in developing the capital city and attracting investments. But changes in the political arena following the appointment of Congress MP A. Revanth Reddy as Pradesh Congress Committee chief and his BJP counterpart Bandi Sanjay preparing himself for a walkathon, seem to have made the minister rethink. Moreover, his father himself becoming hyperactive in the recent past turned the arc lights slightly away from the son. The two opposition leaders succeeded in drawing media and thereby public attention for, what the political analysts say, speaking to the Chief Minister in his own language. Neither the Chief Minister nor his two adversaries think for a moment to use language that puts the sophisticated lot ill at ease. Now comes Rama Rao with a verbal attack on his political adversaries whom he described as “new beggars on the street”. Welcome to the club!
Babus propose, big boss disposes
A new trend has emerged in Andhra Pradesh babudom. Officers themselves have been deciding on what posts they want to handle or at least propagating their choices of the posts. Senior bureaucrat Sameer Sharma, who is currently on Central deputation, requested Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to allow him to join the state cadre before retirement. Coming back to the state will help the officer make some monetary gains in the form of post-retirement benefits. The Chief Minister immediately agreed and a request was sent to the Centre to relieve him. The order of his repatriation was drafted in such a manner that it appeared that the officer was being sent back on the request of the state government and it coincided with the end of term of chief secretary Adityanath Das. Rumours started just a night before Das’ retirement that Sameer Sharma will be the new chief secretary, only to subside the next day when the Centre extended the former’s tenure by three months. Then came the illusionary transfer of Gandham Chandrudu as Visakhapatnam collector. He was shunted out of Anantapur recently and put in charge of the village secretariat administration. The WhatsApp group of babus received a forward message of someone congratulating him on being appointed as Visakhapatnam collector from Chandrudu himself. Some media publications even uploaded to their web editions the news of his appointment which later turned out to be fake.
TS political leaders, high officials immune to rules
Has the Covid-19 called it a day in Telangana state? Or may be gone on a vacation? It certainly appears so if one were to see various ministers, MLAs, MLCs, Opposition leaders and anyone and everyone, waltzing around the city and the rest of the state without wearing the mandatory face mask. Even the state’s top bureaucrats do not seem to care much for the orders issued by the Chief Secretary for not wearing a face mask while in a public space, punishable by a fine of `1,000. Such events can be seen every day in every news bulletin on television news channels, in videos forwarded by the PROs of the ministers and MLAs and Opposition leaders, and anywhere and everywhere. The other day, a minister and a former minister held a press conference about the upcoming Bonalu festival and spoke about how Covid-19 safety guidelines would be strictly followed to ensure safety of all those who might participate in the festivities in temples across the city. Only, neither the current minister, nor the former one, was wearing a face mask while promising citizens that safety of the people was paramount for the Telangana state government. Meanwhile, the police are yet to make a single announcement of slapping a `1,000 fine on any minister, and the rest of the political class members. Clearly, two sets of rules are in operation in the state, one for the elite ruling class, and another for the common folk.