Odisha govt needs to pick up pace in work

The government’s intent is on the right track, but the ground work ahead of it is considerable.
PM Narendra Modi and Governor Raghubar Das pose with Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi, Dy CMs KV Singh Deo, Pravati Parida and ministers after the oath taking ceremony in Bhubaneswar
PM Narendra Modi and Governor Raghubar Das pose with Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi, Dy CMs KV Singh Deo, Pravati Parida and ministers after the oath taking ceremony in BhubaneswarPhoto | Express

In office for close to three weeks, the Mohan Charan Majhi government in Odisha appears to be in no particular hurry. It has set itself a 100-day mission, but the pace at which it has gone about it would require booster packs to reach the target. The saffron party’s first administration in the state began with a flourish. Of the four agendas ratified at the first cabinet meeting, the reopening of the four gates of the Shree Jagannath temple was fulfilled within hours.

It was followed by the announcement to provide a support price of Rs 3,100 to paddy growers from the kharif season, although the decision would require financial reworking given the massive provisioning it warrants. All eyes would also be on the rollout of the much-hyped Subhadra Yojana, a scheme under which eligible women would get vouchers of Rs 50,000 to be encashed within two years. Planned to be unveiled on September 17, this scheme could measure the Majhi government’s administrative dexterity. The party’s manoeuvring would also be tested in designing the scheme’s beneficiary eligibility.

So far, the government’s intent is on the right track, but the ground work ahead of it is considerable. Striking a fine balance between expectations and reality would require a core team that brings administrative experience to translate the lofty visions. Majhi has just finished picking his chief secretary and an officer to helm the chief minister’s office, but a wider administrative overhaul is yet to take place. The first major challenge would be the budget, which would necessitate considerable work given the legacy issues of the previous dispensation and the mega promises made by the saffron party.

Next in priority would be the smooth conduct of the Rath Yatra due in a few days. Beyond that, the government’s real test will be on the promise of a Viksit Odisha that seeks to change the socio-economic landscape with a focus on infrastructure, employment, investment and priority sectors such as agriculture. For that, the government must move out of its celebratory mood and get down to work to overcome its clear lack of experience. It could take a cue from the way the N Chandrababu Naidu government has gone about business right from the word go, though both he and Majhi took oath the same day. Not to forget, the prime minister himself would be keenly watching the performance.

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