Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday visited Andhra Pradesh and its capital Amaravati and was full of praise for the state's Real-Time Governance Society (RTGS). Blair landed at the Vijayawada Airport in Gannavaram in the evening and was received by state IT and Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) Minister Nara Lokesh, who is also the son of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
From there, the duo travelled to the interim government complex at Velugapudi where Blair met Naidu and was given a tour of how the real time governance works.
"I think it is one of the most exciting things happening anywhere in the world. I think you're leading a revolution in how to govern. It is an extraordinary undertaking in a state, which is the size of a reasonably large European country. I think there are lessons from Andhra Pradesh for the globe," Tony Blair told the gathering after the tour, which lasted for around an hour.
"Thank you for an amazing and inspirational visit," Tony Blair wrote in the visitor's book.
"A truly enriching experience to have Mr. Tony Blair amongst us at the RTG State Centre today. He was briefed about the functioning of RTG and how it is transforming the governance in Andhra Pradesh. Recognizing the revolutionary data-driven governance in AP and its tremendous impact on the lives of the citizens, he also lauded the sState government for its extraordinary efforts for the development of the state," the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister's Office said in a press note.
The RTGS consists of 13 centres at the head of each district of the state and one main centre in the state's capital, with information about the state and citizens easily available. It also works in collaboration with all departments of the government, in times of natural calamities and disasters. It also has access to people hub, which includes the data of all households in the state government and the benefits that the citizens are receiving.
However, this centralised collection of data has also raised privacy concerns by activists, who have showed repeatedly that the data is prone to being leaked to the public, for everyone to access.