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Image of Hyderabad takes a hit as a global IT centre because of the shortcomings in the implementation of the Dharani portal. Thousands of petitioners have been waiting for their problems to be solved, which were created in the first place due to this faulty land record digitization portal.

It is ironical that this should happen in a state like Telangana which boasts of Hyderabad as the IT hub of India. The ruling BRS Government loses no opportunity in highlighting the achievements of Hyderabad as the preferred centre for international software and computer companies. Ministers of the Government, especially K.T. Rama Rao, frequently quotes the progress of Hyderabad as a personal success story.

It must, however, be noted that this story mainly consists of international investments in the city, and not much as capacity development of the state. Often, citizens have complained about how little the locals are employed in these companies and how the Government fails to ensure that they benefit from the strides made by Hyderabad.

This is demonstrated in Dharani portal, which neither has the finesse nor the intelligence of a digital product designed at the so-called IT hub of India. Over a million people, by one estimate, are in varying degrees of uncertainty due to the mistakes and manipulation of Dharani portal. There is a limited grievance redressal mechanism at work, and affected people have to physically visit revenue offices in districts and village. This often leads to delays, losses and rapid financial decline of households.

As the state heads towards Assembly elections in November 2023, the Government has been desperately trying to fix the problems with the Dharani portal. Several steps have been taken to rework the portal to make it more efficient. But this has not calmed the anger among the affected people, who have faced tangible losses due to Dharani portal.

This was said to be one the reasons why the Government has not held public hearings in villages, fearing a backlash against the officers. The Opposition Congress party in Telganana had constituted a Dharani committee earlier to take up the issue with the portal. Comprising of senior leaders DamodarRajanarasimha and Kodanda Reddy, the committee had managed to gather complaints from victims of Dharani portal. However, neither the lists were made public, nor was a report presented on what were the findings of the committee.

More recently, in this year, the Dharani campaign got a boost in Telangana Congress with the introduction of technology-aided strategy to go to the people. Led by Telangana Congress general secretary Kota Neelima, party workers were trained on how to conduct Dharani Adalats and register grievances about Dharani portal. The complaints would be registered in a Dharani App, which will provide a comprehensive database of the problems with Dharani portal. Perhaps, this information would reveal to the Telangana Government as well as the rest of India, the full extent of problems with the Dharani portal and what to avoid while digitizing land records.