Since the creation of Jharkhand as a separate State in 2000, it has been in political turmoil and stayed at the lowest level of development. But now within one year of the new Government it has emerged as the third State in the country with regard to ‘ease of doing business’ attracting investment worth Rs 65,000 crore. Organiser editor Prafulla Ketkar and senior correspondent Pramod Kumar spoke to Chief Minister Raghubar Das in New Delhi to know the drivers of change in the State. Excerpts:
- Throwing away the stereotype image of a ‘Vanvasi dominated backward State’ Jharkhand has emerged as a ‘business-friendly’ State. How all it happened?
It is due to the outcome of political stability, strong will power and team spirit. Consequently, the State which stood at the 29th step one year back is now at the third step of development ladder. We have attracted investment worth Rs 65,000 crore in different sectors. The projects worth Rs 32,000 crore are going to take shape shortly.
Following the ideals of Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya and in order to involve the common man in policy formulation we have started Yojna Banao Abhiyan from January 15. Under it, right from the Chief Minister down to Ministers, Chief Secretary, Secretaries, Commissioners to civil society representatives , they all go to Village Panchayats and discuss with locals what they want. Instead of imposing anything, people are directly being involved in policy formulation. By February 15, we would reach all 4,402 Village Panchayats.
The Budget for 2016-17 will reflect people’s aspiration. Our overall pre-Budget consultations began in September 2015 itself. It is for the first time in 14 years that advance Budget has been planned for the State. Earlier, the plans used to be formulated after passing the Budget in Assembly. We are also in the process of presenting separate Agriculture Budget this year.
- How the consultation with people is basically conducted?
We discuss with the people at the ground level to know what they want in the Budget. It will help us materialise the budget on the ground immediately after the Assembly passes it. Earlier, it used to take six months or more to complete the process.
- You have planned a Sports University. What is the whole idea?
The basic idea is to persuade the PSUs and Corporate Houses to use some part of their CSR funds as per our planning. Similarly, for the Highway patrolling we have collected vehicles from different corporate houses under CSR. Equally, A MoU has been signed with the CIL to maintain Games Village in Ranchi. We are also in the process of forming a Sports Academy in the Games Village to promote sports talent. Coal Minister Shri Piyush Goel has agreed to provide Rs 38 crore for it. Today, Jharkhand has 10 per cent of the total international sportspersons in the country. We want to increase this number substantially. Apart from it, we have decided to set up a standard schools like DPS, DAV, etc. so that sports talent can be groomed right from the school days.
- How much coal block allocation on new pattern benefited Jharkhand?
Hugely. 12.5 per cent of the money has to be provided to Districts for development. Districts like Western Singhbhoom and Chaibasa are going to get huge funds every year.
- You had promised to introduce local policy when assumed the charge of CM. But there seems to be to no development on it so far. Why?
Certain issues need consensus. We discussed the issue with different stakeholders including intellectuals, civil society organisations, political parties, etc. But some political parties have displayed double standard on it. Now we have sought their opinion in writing. But barring a few small parties, the so-called big parties have not given anything in writing so far.
- Is there any initiative to bring the ‘misguided people’ into the mainstream?
They claim to be the protectors of poor and labourers, infact we too want the same. We have reported 70 to 80 per cent polling in Panchayat elections in the areas which have been infamous for extremism. We are of the firm opinion that if anybody challenges the law he would be given befitting reply. If they join the mainstream we shall welcome them.
- There is criticism about the PDS policy?
We are in the process of revamping this system. By March 2016 we have planned to introduce biometric system to curb corruption. Apart from increasing the incentives of dealers, we have told them to sell other items too at fair price shop.
- There is a digital revolution in the country. What are you doing to extend benefits to the people?
We are going to connect all Panchayat Bhavans with internet by the year 2017. We are developing Ranchi as IT hub. About 400 acres of land has exclusively been identified for it. In fact many IT companies have agreed to invest in it.
- Since the creation of Jharkhand there has been a clash between Vanvasis and non-Vanvasis. How are you doing to strengthen the social integration?
It is more a political issue than the public agenda. There have been Vanvasi CMs during the last 14 years. It is nowhere written in the Constitution that the person from a particular section only should become PM or CM. I also want that people from deprived sections should be at par in development. We have formulated Adivasi Vikas Parishad for all 15 Scheduled Districts to ensure development of Vanvasis. The Parishad consisting of intellectuals, representatives of Vanvasi communities and Panchayat team members will formulate plans for development of Vanvasi districts. We are also going to strengthen Self-Help Groups in at least 1,000 villages every year. Women have been granted 33 per cent reservation in police services. Since women in large number are taking up vehicle driving, we have written off registration fee for them. Equally, we are going to start nursing training at district level for women.
- What is the mechanism to redress public grievances?
In order to reduce the gap between the public and the administration we use Information Technology on large scale. Mukhyamantri Jan Samvad and Seedhi Varta have proved to be highly beneficial in this regard. Anybody can get his complain registered through 181. The problems are directly forwarded to the concerned departments. The complaints which are not resolved are discussed in the presence of officers and the complainant on every Tuesday of the month by me. No complained is closed until it is satisfactorily resolved. Under the Right to Service 154 services like birth, income certificate, various kinds of NOC, etc are now available online. Land mutation will also be done online from March this year and soon it will be through mobile phone also.
- What about Tourism?
We are developing certain spots like Baba Deoghar, leading Jain Teerth Parasnath, etc to attract the pilgrims. Work is going on for providing better facilities to the pilgrims visiting Chhinnamastika Mata Mandir. We are going to start Bharat Darshan and Jharkhand Darshan schemes shortly so that economically deprived people can visit some pilgrimage places in their lifetime.
- Has the previous organisational experience benefited you?
A lot. We believe politics is for nation and power is for sewa. I am proceeding on the same path.