Good Governance

Naidu’s success to the performance of the TDP government is in addressing the genuine needs and aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh. He believed that reforms in all facets of governance are essential if we are to achieve a position of leadership and excellence in times to come, we cannot accelerate the pace of our development and eradicate poverty without undertaking broad-based reforms covering the wide canvas of economic, social and political systems. However, the process of reforms has to be moderated in a manner that addresses the human concerns of people likely to be affected by the reform process. Naidu has consciously tried to focus on the human aspects of the reform process in order to ensure that the transition from the past to the future is smooth and least disruptive of peoples’ lives. Each reform taken up by us has been preceded by a protracted process of active consultation with all sections of the people so as to evolve a consensus on the necessity of undertaking the reforms. It is for this reason, that there has been little resistance from the public against the decisions that government has been required to take up in the best interests of the state.

One critical element of good governance is consensus building. Consequently, there is a need for building consensus through transparency and generation of public awareness while going through any radical program of reforms. Naidu’s success is primarily in being able to communicate with the people the true nature and purpose of reforms. It has been easy to succeed in the elections once people have been convinced about the necessity of the steps being taken by government to usher in reforms. Naidu will always be associated with putting Hyderabad on the national and world maps. He inherited it as an overgrown backwater, with crowded roads and chaotic traffic, a poor cousin to Karnataka’s Bangalore and Tamil Nadu’s Chennai. Naidu set about changing that with a vengeance. He developed it as an IT hub, focused on making the city a transport hub (with the new airport), and chased investors and corporate chieftains tirelessly for investment to flow into his state. And he decided that investment would not come if he did not have a showpiece capital. So he broadened the roads, smoothed the flow of traffic with a series of fly-overs, invested in power and water supply systems so that the city lacked neither, developed new public parks and cleaned up Hussainsagar, the lake in the center of the city, girdling it with a new road that gave the city a much bigger waterfront.

He also digitized the city’s chaotic land records, made the transfer of property easy as a consequence, and saw property prices zooming more than anywhere else. Large real estate projects materialized, construction activity spread all over the city, and jobs were to be had for the asking. Naidu tapped into the large overseas Andhra population, mostly in the US, for generating interest in Andhra Pradesh, and oversaw the opening of new hospitals and schools so that people would want to come and live in the city. The result was that IT companies came swarming to the state, eager to get away from the high-cost environment of Bangalore and to spread risk by being multi-locational.

Naidu worked tirelessly to improve irrigation and water management, encouraged the creation of thousands of village self-help groups of women who were able to get bank finance as a result, emphasized rural development, and ensured that subsidized rice reached more homes in Andhra Pradesh than in any other state, by overseeing the smooth functioning of the public distribution system.