NRIs help draft a ‘People’s Manifesto’
U.S.-based campaign for Telangana ‘dials-a-village’ for ideas, hosts Facebook chat
With the political battle heating up in Telangana in the run-up to the Assembly poll, a group of NonResident Indians (NRIs) based in the United States has taken it upon itself to come up with a ‘People’s Manifesto’ through public consultations and debates with experts and citizens back home.
The group, led by Ravi Mayreddy, a Philadelphiabased NRI from Telangana, has been running a campaign called ‘Dial Your Village’ (DYV) for the past three years.
Under this campaign, every week, a Telangana village is contacted over phone from the U.S. and its opinions sought on a range of development issues. Sarpanches and experts are brought on board for a better understanding of issues and formulation of suggestions for better governance. The ‘People’s Manifesto’ is a new initiative under the DYV campaign.
Building on success
“The success of DYV has given us the confidence to build the people’s agenda,” Mr. Mayreddy said, adding, “a large section of the voting public tends to come under the spell of the absurd blame games and unethical practices around the time of elections. Unfortunately, even the young and the educated are busy manufacturing and circulating fake news. Our aim is to use the same social media platforms to create a serious debate.”
The DYV has so far focussed on agriculture, healthcare, education and libraries. In one discussion, they connected with Sudhakar Goud, a former librarian, for a chat on library cess, which led to a donation of ₹1 lakh by NRIs to the Telangana Librarians Association for a village library.
“The time has come for citizens to evaluate the administration, compare available options, and pick the right one,” says Ramesh Nallavolu, a U.S.-based DYV member. The plan is to hold the ‘People’s Manifesto’ discussion on Wednesdays on the Facebook page of Dial Your Village.