By D.K. Malviya
SIX months is too short a span for any government to produce concrete results. But the Uma Bharti government has proved it wrong. From the various achievements in terms of statistics apart, one thing that emerges very clearly is that this government is aware of the ground realities and has a down-to-earth approach vis-a-vis development of the state and redressing the grievances of the people. Commitment to delivering on the promises and human sensitivities are two other main characteristics of this state government.
Immediately after taking over the reins of the state as Chief Minister, Sushri Uma Bharti moved step by step and took up the problems one by one. One thing was very clear in her mind—that lack of long term planning and ad hocism mainly account for backwardness of the state. This resulted in under exploitation of the rich natural resources of the state and it continues to carry the tag of backwardness even after 48 years of its existence.
To remove this drawback, the Chief Minister launched a month long Pancha-ja-Abhiyan (Five-j Campaign) focused on five fundamental components of development.
The state government from day one has been serious about fulfilling the promises made by it to the people. When the government took office, the entire state was reeling under an unprecedented and severe power crisis with no respite in sight. The most formidable challenge before the government was to ensure adequate and uninterrupted power supply to farmers for irrigation and to students for their studies. But if determination is firm, no crisis is insurmountable. From December onwards regular power was supplied by purchasing power worth over Rs 1,150 crores, to the great relief of farmers and students. Thus, the government fulfilled one of its major promises. The Chief Minister has time and again reassured the people that they would not be allowed to suffer due to shortage of electricity. Meanwhile, work has been speeded up on construction of different power plants. In the next three years, Madhya Pradesh would be self reliant in electricity and by year 2008, it would be a power surplus state.
This figured on top of the agenda of the state government and the work of construction and improvement of roads has gained considerable momentum. In the last six months, about one thousand villages have been connected to metalled roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Besides, over 1,800 km length of roads has been constructed under various other schemes. To create a network of roads from Panchayats to the state capital, a Swarnmala Scheme has been prepared.
Unemployment is another major problem which is being addressed effectively by the state government on an urgent basis. An employment guarantee scheme for 89 predominantly tribal blocks to provide 180 days of employment to one member of each below the poverty line family in a year has been sanctioned. The concerned departments have been asked to take action to mobilise the required Rs 258 crores for implementation of the scheme.
An employment board has been set up to create at least five lakh employment opportunities annually. This is a revolutionary step towards solving the problem of unemployment. A Rs 13.50 crore self employment project has been implemented in Chhatarpur, Damoh and Sahadol districts. A Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihood Project has been sanctioned covering six tribal districts of Dhar, Jhabua, Badwani, Mandla, Dindori and Sahadol under the first phase of the project.
The state government has decided to reinstate the sacked daily wage employees and its implementation is in progress. Special attention has been paid to encourage self employment. Education is being made employment oriented. Work on making Madhya Pradesh an IT hub has been started and an IT Park is being set up at Bhopal.
The state government has fulfilled its promise of putting a total ban on cow slaughter and well contemplated efforts are afoot to develop a cow based rural economy. In the larger public interest, the state government has amended its excise and tendu leaf trade policies which has yielded encouraging results.
In the last six months almost all the departments have performed well in terms of achievements. Additional irrigation potential for 50 thousand hectares has been created and 104 new minor irrigations schemes have been surveyed. In rural areas, drinking water sources have been created in 54 sourceless habitations, 701 in partially completed habitations and alternative sources have been created in 141 habitations in districts affected by poor quality. Besides, drinking water facility has been provided in about 10 thousand rural schools. The Public Works Department has constructed 1,855 km roads. Under NABARD, 256 km roads, 30 culverts and under BOT Bond Scheme, 172 km roads have been constructed. The state government has shown rare sensitiveness towards the poor, the needy and the weak. The arrangement for providing full meals instead of dalia in schools is being made gradually.
The state government has also decided to consolidate rural grain banks and to strengthen the gram swaraj system. This also shows its pragmatic approach. Gram sachivalayas are being set up for locally solving the problems of the people. This is the first step towards streamlining the rural administration.
One would, thus, conclude that this is a down to earth government, well aware of the ground realities.