Intro: The Fadnavis Government is trying to get citizen friendly with e-governance initiatives. A web site and a mobile app named “Aapale sarkar” (https://aaplesarkar.maharashtra.gov.in) have been launched to interact with the citizens.
The Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) first Chief Minister in the State Shri Devendra Fadnavis is the youngest to hold the CM's office in the country. A simple person though highly qualified, he connects with youth of the State instantly. Though he had certain problems initially as BJP falls short of majority in the State Assembly, Fadnavis appears to be firmly in the saddle now and has completed 100 days as Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
On the very first day, in the first Cabinet meeting, Fadnavis government proposed “Right to Service Act” and the draft was put up on the Government website, for getting suggestions from the common citizens.
As promised in his interview with Organiser at the start of his tenure, the setting up of a new industry in Maharashtra Industrial Develop-ment Corporation (MIDC) area now requires only 5 permissions instead of earlier 14. In non-MIDC areas, setting up of new industry now requires only 25 permissions instead of earlier more than 60 odd.
In a bold and adventurous step, Fadnavis has decentralised the powers of transfers of the officers and government staff including police department, delegating those to the divisional levels and department secretaries. The Police Commissioners and the Superintendants of Police (SPs), District Collectors and heads of various departments can now handle the transfers of their staff on their own. Earlier, transfers of even police hawaldars were used to be decided from Chief Minister's office.
Steps have also been taken to help the agriculture sector. The government is working on the plans for providing sustainability to farming sector. A programme has been launched for training and skill development of the farmers and agricultural labourers. A programme is underway to establish more than 2,000 weather stations to help local farmers. The farmers in the drought hit areas are been bailed out with various schemes like electricity bills and loan weaver and providing them with solar water pumps. Irrigation schemes are being rationalised and the completion of various schemes is being fast tracked. A value-chain has been proposed for marketing of the agricultural goods produced by the small farmers.
Energy sector got a boost under Fadnavis Government. As a result of better management, this Government successfully reduced the load shedding by two hours in the State. The thermal power stations will now get coal from nearest mines.
Steps have also been initiated to fulfill the vision presented through the BJP manifesto. Multi-faceted infrastructure programme is already in place. Infrastructure in Mumbai and the other cities like Pune and Nagpur are on the top priority list of this government. Mumbai will get new Metro Lines and a new marine highway and coastal road has been sanctioned to connect the north and south Mumbai. A plan for Maritime passenger traffic has been launched, which is expected to show results in couple of years. Fadnavis Government has purchased Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's house in London and a proposal has been sanctioned to convert it into a Museum.
The government had already announced judicial inquiry in to the corruption charges against the erstwhile Cong-NCP regime. There are many more achievements in the sectors of infrastructure, industry, agriculture, education, social welfare, energy, law and justice, housing, textiles, labour, urban development, health, transportation, tourism to name a few.
Although the government can claim a number of achievements, the expectations are still high and the citizens, social and political workers are still not satisfied on many fronts. Toll Free Roads was a major promise made by the BJP during the poll campaign. It is still to be achieved. Though few toll booths at the distant areas were nullified, there is rampant violation of national policy of maintaining minimum 80 km distance in any two toll booths on most busy, popular highways in the State.
Farmers' suicides still a major problem
Farmers think that there is much more to be done for the agro sector. Opposition parties and journalists claim that the farmers' suicides have been increased in last two months. The social workers and the experts working in the field feel the need for greater government level intervention. Some feel there should be counselling programmes, some feel that the proper district level agro-management training programmes should be in place for the farmers. More help is needed in the irrigation, organic farming and the marketing of agro goods for small and medium farmers. Agro-financing should be more rationalised and easy to get for small farmers. Many social workers think that the small farmers need financial management training and should be helped in planning by giving weather updates at Tehsil levels. Various agricultural universities should gather data which should be used for research on the local problems faced by the farmers.
Affordable good quality housing for middle class is still a headache for the planning authorities in urban sector. In cities like Mumbai, builder lobby is still has visible clout over government policies and implementation. In city's old areas where redevelopments of old residential structures is underway, all the houses being built by the builders are for wealthy ones and the original middle class of the city is still being pushed beyond the distant suburbs away from city limits.
Affordable urban and rural public transportation is still a dream. Mumbai's local bus fares have just been increased in spite of all the buses running on cheapest CNG fuel. Citizens can't see the rationale behind this hike.
Overall the opinion about the performance of Fadnavis Government is good. Good decisions and policies of the Fadnavis Government are yet to be reflected in the day to day life of the citizens. But the social workers across the party lines have expressed trust on Fadnavis as he has shown considerable will power and fast decision making abilities in his first 100 days.
The Fadnavis Government is trying to get citizen friendly with e-governance initiatives. A web site and a mobile app named “Aapale sarkar” (https://aaplesarkar.maharashtra.gov.in) have been launched to interact with the citizens. The common man can launch complaints and post their suggestions through this website or mobile app and track it. Fadnavis has promised that the complaints will be addressed within a stipulated time frame.
These steps will make the people participate in governance and policy making. Online RTI facility is another innovative and citizen friendly step Fadnavis has initiated.
Rajesh Prabhu Salgaonkar (The writer is a Maharashtra based correspondent)