Nath orders radical change in govt functioning

LS Herdenia

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]mmediately after the allocation of portfolios, chief minister Kamal Nath and his cabinet colleagues have made several announcements of far-reaching implications. The chief minister has announced a basic change in the functioning of state government. While addressing a public meeting in his hometown Chhindwara, Kamal Nath said that in future, announcements of new projects and schemes will be made by officials and not by the chief minister and ministers. In the course of his speech at the public meeting on Sunday, he said that public is fed up of announcements and tall promises made by politicians. Now, the officials will announce the schemes and ensure that they are implemented.

It may be mentioned that former BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan used to make several announcements without doing any exercise. Some of the policy announcements made by him had financial implications and because of this most of such announcements remained on paper. Because of this he used to be described as “Ghosnaveer” (announcement warrior). Now a section of the BJP feels that the vast gap between announcement and implementation was one of reasons of the poll defeat in November elections.

Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded statement the chief minister said that prime minister Modi is trying to malign image of the Madhya Pradesh government. Kamal Nath said, “Forgetting political differences the Prime Minister should have praised the 12-day-old Congress government in the state for implementing its manifesto promise of farm loan waiver within one hour of swearing in. His claim on the urea crisis is also wrong. Urea shortage has not been created by the state government. It is not our failure but a Central subject.”

AICC spokesman Abhay Dubey also reacted to PM Modi’s claims at the Ghazipur rally. “The BJP led Narendra Modi government at Centre is continuously playing with the livelihood of farmers. His statement in Ghazipur is unfortunate. He said that the urea crisis in Madhya Pradesh deepened the moment Congress came to power in the state. But the truth is that the fertiliser crisis a conspiracy of BJP leaders of the state and Centre. It is the Centre that has stopped supply of urea to the state,” Abhay Dubey said. He argued that in December the state quota for urea is 3,70,000 metric ton but Union government has so far sent only 1,65,000 metric ton.

Meanwhile, after taking charge of their respective departments, several ministers made important announcements. The announcements were made prior to the chief minister’s decision that in future officers alone will announce new schemes and projects and also policies. Law ministers PC Sharma declared that the state government will withdraw political cases filed against members of Congress. Sharma added that the previous government had filed unnecessary cases against the Congress workers and office-bearers.

The Kamal Nath government has also indicated that it will stop the payment of pension to those who were sent to jail during Emergency under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). This Act was promulgated during Emergency between 1975 and 1977. Thousands of political workers who opposed MISA were arrested and imprisoned. An overwhelming majority of those belonged to the Sangh Parivar. Besides them Socialists and CPM workers were also arrested. For those who were arrested and convicted the BJP government had sanctioned pension which benefited thousands of people belonging to various RSS-affiliated organisations. If Kamal Nath finally decides to abolish MISA pension, it will break the backbone of the RSS cadre.

The government may also decide to abolish Jan Abhiyan Parishad, an umbrella organisation which used to affiliate non-government organisations and give them grants. Also, Parishad gave direct appointments to about 650 persons. They functioned at the block and district levels. Block-level appointees were getting a salary of Rs 35,000 per month and district level appointees Rs 50,000. It is expected that the government will soon take a decision about the fate of the Parishad, which was used to serve political objectives of the BJP.

(The author is a senior journalist)