The Biju Janata Dal government on May 25 has completed one year of its fourth consecutive term in office. While the opposition parties Congress and BJP have allege that the BJD government has failed on all fronts and blamed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the failures, the ruling party claims that the government is delivering on its promises.
State Congress unit says that the government has failed on all fronts. Listing the achievements, they satire that the state government has succeeded only on two fronts: Managing the BJP and silencing the CBI. As a result, the inquiry into the chit fund scam in the state has slowed down although several ruling party leaders were involved in the multi-crore chit fund scam now being investigated by the CBI. BJP also dubs the period as indictment of the Naveen government. They allege that as the chief minister has failed to govern the state and caused multi-organ failure in the administration. But the CM has insulated himself from the government, allowing a few bureaucrats to call the shots. The opposition parties are continuously alleging that the state government has launched several populist schemes with an eye to vote bank politics, which have no result in sustainable development of the state.
The BJD leaders rubbished the allegations, asserting that the party continued to be a darling of the masses due to development works being undertaken in the state. They strongly opine that their government is delivering on its promises and addressing the problems of the people. The popularity of Naveen Patnaik is still intact, although usually anti-incumbency factor crops up when a party governs a state for years. They feel that the opposition parties are making wild allegations without any basis.
The state government launched several schemes in the last three years, including the Rs.5-a-meal ‘Aahar’ scheme for the urban poor and free medicine scheme ‘Niramaya’. The quota for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes students in higher educational institutions has been increased from 20 percent to 38 percent. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also asked his ministers to inform people about their achievements in detail through media briefings. Highlighting his government’s achievements, Naveen has said that the infant mortality rate had reduced in the State from 96 in 2000 to 40 in 2015-16, which effectively translates into saving about 51,000 more babies annually compared to 2000.
Opposition has so far alleged that the CM Naveen Patnaik has little or no trait of a seasoned politician. He is a weak personality; who is heavily depended on officials, who tell him what to do and what not to. He can hardly speak Odia and, therefore, cannot directly communicate with the common man. He lacks communication skills and speaks like a robot and exchanges plastic smile!
Some intellectuals and scribes believe that the only reason why BJD is there in power for 17 years is because of weak opposition parties and supplying rice @ Rs 1/kg. They are of the opinion that BJD is never been known for any proactive measures. It only reacts after harm is caused as evident in the case of Polavoram, Mahanadi, Health issues, Food issues, and many others. The BJD govt. has failed in creating MSMEs – which could’ve made many poor people self-reliant. People are still fleeing to Gujarat and Maharastra in search of work. They also allege that Scams tainted Naveen Govt. has focused on several populist schemes only with an eye on creating vote banks – but not on schemes which can bring sustainable development.
It is a fact that there is shortage of doctors in the state. Govt. is planning to post 837 regular doctors through the Odisha Public Service Commission shortly, by which, total post of doctors shall be increased from 4889 to 6719. During the last three years, 1517 doctors have been posted. Construction of eight new 300 bedded district headquarter hospitals have been taken up at Jharsuguda, Dhenkanal, Malkangiri, Kendrapara, Deogarh, Nuapada, Bargarh and Rayagada. Day-care cancer chemotherapy facilities have been started at almost all government hospitals, including capital hospital at Bhubaneswar. Besides, 46 mother and child health (MCH) wings have been taken up for construction at different hospitals.
One of the major achievements has been the sharp decline in infant mortality rate from 96 in 2000 to 40 in 2015-16. Under-5 mortality rate has also come down to 49. This is not a mere achievement in the health sector alone. It signifies that besides proper health care, the pregnant mothers and infants are well taken care of, food security is provided to every deserving family, drnking water is provided, rural development measures have reached people and ‘Mamata’ yojana has been implemented successfully.
The charges made by opposition parties have failed to anchor as no party could level any corruption charges on the Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik. Naveen’s political moves, despite opposition charges of bureaucrat-led moves, have turned pragmatic and matured moves to keep his opponents inside and outside the party flat.
Allegation that the condition of farmers remained miserable and many of them committed suicide due to crop failure, debt burden and lack of irrigation has been addressed both politically and with administrative reforms. Amendment of the law and regulations relating to share croppers is in the cards. There is improvement in supply of drinking water position and electrification of households.
Despite govt. support, required cold stores under Potato Mission are yet to be created. Only 33 of the 108 cold storages in the state are functioning at present, which needs qualitative and quantitative improvement. Incorporation of penalty clause against the violators of official language Act is yet to be attended. Farmers are demanding Price, Prestige and Pension and the general public demand total prohibition. Coming 2 years of the 4th term of Naveen government shall be quite tough as two more budgets shall be presented by his finance minister, which must reflect the aspirations of the people. Politically Naveen’s party is positioned well. It is only good and better governance, which may take the regional political party to further new heights; even though Bharatiya Janata Party led union government shall try its best to rule the state through Look East policy.