Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s latest initiative ‘Mo Sarkar’ (My Government) has created a buzz all around the state. Premised on the very idea of Swaraj of Mahatma Gandhi, the effort to make the government accountable to the people and the drive to get people’s voices heard in every aspect of governance as well as public service delivery, is indeed a very bold move. As a start, the CM has chosen the most critical organs—police and health services. Patnaik himself is leading from the front, calling up people who have either visited a police station or a government hospital to get their feedback on the services provided to them.
What is more important is besides the services, he is seeking to know how they were treated during their visits. The idea is to bring about a transformation in the crucial governance wings and make them responsive and empathetic to the problems of people. Already, based on the feedback, action has been taken against many public servants, mainly police. Tainted officers have been dismissed; compulsory retirement has been handed out to a few while more action seems to be on its way. Even senior bureaucrats have started visiting government facilities in remote districts to drive home the message.
Naveen Patnaik has been a great proponent of Gandhian values and principles in politics and governance.
He has been calling for the inclusion of Ahimsa in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. As part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Gandhiji this year, he unveiled Mahatma Gandhi’s Talisman at the state Secretariat, which has been rechristened as Lok Seva Bhawan. Mo Sarkar is an extension of this belief. What follows, though, is the big question. Mo Sarkar has got to an impactful start but its success will depend on the seriousness with which it is sustained. His critics are not entirely convinced and term it as a new political stunt. Naveen Patnaik has to prove them wrong because, if it is carried forward with sincerity, it will change the face of governance and become a model for the whole country.