Gond's bold policy statements create confusion in Odisha's administration

Ironically, neither the two proposals have got the approval of the state cabinet nor the chief minister has made any announcement in this regard.
Nityananda Gond
Nityananda GondFile Photo

BHUBANESWAR: Out of turn comments and statements on policy decisions by various ministers seem to be frequently putting the newly-elected government of Mohan Charan Majhi in a spot.

Once such minister in the Majhi cabinet is Minister for School and Mass Education and Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities rr who has been making important announcements of the government without approval of the chief minister or his cabinet.

A first-time MLA, Gond took everyone by surprise a couple of days back by making a bold statement that his government is planning to make Odisha free of liquor by banning its sale across the state. On Tuesday, he said payment of enhanced old age, widow and disability pension has been decided by the government and it will implemented after approval of the Finance department.

“Preparations are underway and we are waiting to know the outlay of budget. We are discussing with the Finance department for clearance of the proposal,” the minister told mediapersons.

Ironically, neither the two proposals have got the approval of the state cabinet nor the chief minister has made any announcement in this regard. Only the chief minister is competent to make such an announcement anticipating post-facto approval of the cabinet.

“This shows the lack of administrative experience and knowledge on government rules of business of the minister who has been talking about policy decisions without approval of the chief minister or the state cabinet. After the announcement on liquor ban, the Excise department approved opening of 10 new foreign liquor shops in the state,” said a former excise minister in the BJD government.

While Excise Minister Prithiviraj Harichandan refused to comment on Gond’s statement, the department came out with a clarification that there is no such proposal before the government about liquor ban in the state.

Gond’s statement on Tuesday about the decision to pay enhanced pension under different welfare schemes has created curiosity among the beneficiaries if the revised benefit will be implemented after the July budget session.

While the BJP has not made any promise about liquor ban in its election manifesto, the party has promised to increase the monthly pension of elderly, divyang, widows and destitute persons from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000. The party has also promised to provide a pension of Rs 3,500 per month to persons above 80 years and with 80 per cent disability.

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