NRIs help draft a ‘Peo­ple’s Man­i­festo’

U.S.-based cam­paign for Te­lan­gana ‘di­als-a-vil­lage’ for ideas, hosts Face­book chat

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - R. Ravikanth Reddy

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.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION: J.A.PREMKUMAR

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