INTERVIEW: CHANDRABABU NAIDU
Do you think the environment is important?
Environment protection is one of my biggest priorities. We have a responsibility towards the future generation. My program mes like Janmabhoomi, watershed development and Joint Forest Management (JFM) will help improve the environment.
With the help of JFM,,we are trying to regenerate forest land. Our watershed programmes have helped save at least two districts, Mehboobnagar and Anantapur, from becoming a desert.
What role do you see for non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the civil society and the government in environmental protection?
I am very interested in the protection of the environment. For that, I am involving people, NGOs and government officials. Today, there are 300,000 organisations in my state which include 129,000 village education committees, 125,000 Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) groups, and 10,000 Water Users' Associations. Besides, there are another 300,000 NGOs.
How are you planning to ensure sustainable development of Andhra Pradesh?
I want to focus on all-round development. But my biggest priority is to develop rural areas. The Jamnabhoomi, watershed development, and JIM programmes will help in the sustainable development of my state. Most CMs have failed due to bureaucracy. Comment. I agree that bureaucracy is a hurdle in the smooth implementation of my programmes. For this, I am bringing several administrative reforms to simplify the procedures. I also interacted with bureaucrats two hours every day for nine days during the Janmabhoomi programme. I have also said that 33 per cent of the funds will go to the most deserving villages and the money will be given directly to those who help in the successful implementation of programmes.
At present what are the priority areas for your government?
I want to empower the people. This is not an easy task. The Maharashtra chief minister and even the Sri Lankan president started participatory development programmes but they had to stop it. Even I make mistakes, but I am trying to correct them. Information technology, infrastructure develop- ment and tourism industries are just one aspect. Villages are my main concern and real things are happening there.
Why is it that most of your programmes are not being implemented as expected?
I agree that things arc not moving as expected. But all of a sudden I cannot change everything. Nevertheless, I am not going to compromise. Itis onlya matter of time,
You have been making statements like "money is not a problem for the state". Where do you generate the required funds from?
Unless you have a vision and a clear perspective, you cannot be successfid. I have a vision and huge humanpower resources. If I am able to mobilise people for the programmes, then half the problems will get solved. I am also expecting to generate some money from the information technology industry.
There is a general feeling that you are focusing more on urban issues?
This is not correct. I am spending a major portion of state money in rural areas. But things do not change overnight. There are reports that you do not get the right feedback about the implementation of programmes. Comment. I do not doubt that. Officials might be sending me exaggerated reports.
Your policy to make panchayats and sarpanchs powerless has generated controversy. Comment.
People who used to misuse their powers earlier are not finding a way to do so (now). This is why they are unhappy with me. I want to bring accountability in the system. So I am taking action against corrupt people who are trying to misguide people and misuse funds.