HYDERABAD: The first-ever paperless Cabinet meet, chaired by AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday, was a cakewalk for his tech-savvy ministers like Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, Ganta Srinivasa Rao and Ravella Kishore Babu.
However, for others like deputy chief ministers, N Chinna Rajappa and KE Krishna Murthy, and Ministers Paritala Sunitha and Ch Ayyannapathrudu it turned out to be a bit difficult.
Holding iPads in their hands and with laptops on their laps, Naidu and his colleagues went about their business like professionals and consigned ‘cabinet notes & papers’ to the dustbin of history.
Even the agenda of the meeting was circulated only on iPads and the minutes too were electronically recorded. Naidu made a power-point presentation on key issues to his colleagues.
KE Krishna Murthy, Chinna Rajappa, Sunitha and a few others had to take the help of technicians to follow Naidu on an app downloaded on their iPads. According to sources, during the marathon meeting that lasted for over four hours, Naidu told his colleagues that hereafter all the Cabinet meetings would be held in electronic format only.
“Henceforth, we must implement e-governance at all levels in the government. So, all of you must become computer literates and ensure that day-to-day affairs in all the departments are computerised,”
Naidu was quoted as saying. In the same breath, he directed the ministers to be more visible on the Internet particularly on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
He also reportedly told them that while appraising their performance, he would lay emphasis on their activity on the social media. His e-governance mantra evoked mixed reactions from his colleagues. Minister Ravella Kishore Babu told Express, “Holding a Cabinet meet in e-format is a great decision. Though at first, some ministers found it difficult to adjust themselves with the paperless meeting, later on, they became accustomed to it.”
Sources said Naidu told the ministers to submit to him “self-appraisal” reports on their performance. He was angry with them for not rising to his expectations. During the Cabinet meet, Naidu is understood to have expressed his displeasure over the ‘poor performance’ of some of his colleagues in the past 100 days. “I am not happy with some of you. I want you all to perform well. Those who won’t prove themselves will be taken to task,” Naidu is learnt to have warned them.
The AP Chief Minister’s Office claimed that the Centre had evinced interest in his e-Cabinet idea. Sources in the CMO said the Centre sought details of how the meeting was held in electronic format and the security features provided in the app on iPads.
Though the Cabinet discussed at length ways and means of mobilising financial resources for implementing the crop loan waiver scheme, it reportedly failed to make any headway. “We are still exploring options like pledging government lands to banks and imposing additional cess on the sale of liquor. Issuance of security bonds to farmers is another option being considered. The CM might give clarity by Oct 2,” a minister told Express.
Ganta Gets an Earful
Sources said Naidu was furious with some ministers in the wake of allegations that they were transferring employees in their respective departments for pecuniary considerations. When HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao raised the issue of transfers of government employees, Naidu flew off the handle, saying some ministers were indiscriminately shifting officials, which is not good for the government. “If anybody resorts to corrupt practices while transferring officials, I will not spare them,” the CM reportedly warned.
Naidu reportedly pulled up representatives of BSNL and Airtel for not strengthening their network in AP to help him digitalise the State. The reps were summoned to the Cabinet meeting.