Six Months of Yogi Govt: Much Promised Governance is Missing
Track record of past six months of the Yogi government do not kindle hope among people, writes Sudhir Panwar.
After an unprecedented electoral success and high voltage drama on the selection process, Yogi Adityanath was appointed the chief minister of India’s most populated state, Uttar Pradesh, with two deputy chief ministers, a unique arrangement keeping the balance of power and caste dynamics in mind.
As is generally agreed upon, a period of six months is not enough to judge the government with a mandate of five years. However, it is sufficient time to comprehend the priorities, sensitivities and style of governance. Especially since the government has presented a budget as well.
Fulfilling Electoral Promises
The Yogi government began its tenure with the reassertion of several electoral resolutions such as ending Muslim appeasement, banning slaughterhouses, curbing love jihad and corruption in bureaucracy, improving power supply and paying of sugarcane arrears and interests. Some promises made in the Sankalp Patra released on the eve of election were iterated. These included various issues ranging from farm loan waiver to free internet data for students.
As promised by Modi and Amit Shah during the election campaign, farm loan waiver was approved in the first Cabinet meeting. But on the ground, it had very limited impact on farmers due to the strange and inexplicably ludicrous eligibility criteria that guided the project.
The execution of the program by the administrative machinery on the field also pushed it towards failure. Some waiver certificates being distributed have amazingly paltry amounts, which have become the laughing stock on social media as it appeared in newspaper headlines.
Statistics Don’t Suggest Improvement in Law and Order
The anti-Romeo squads, started with much fanfare, culminated in the harassment of youth, especially girls. Such was the criticism against this measure that the squad is practically nonexistent now. The electoral promise to ban mechanised slaughterhouses is reduced to the closure of unlicensed abattoirs and illegal slaughtering for food and business.
Following the State backing to cow vigilante groups and central government’s regulation on animal trade, unproductive stray cows are roaming on the streets and intruding into fields, causing trouble to farmers who are forced to guard their crops 24x7.
The ambitious declaration of pothole-free roads turned into a mere jugglery of statistics by the PWD (Public Works Department).
Crime statistics hardly indicate any improvement in the law and order situation at the ground level. Political interference in the law and order machinery continues, as is evident from the events in Saharanpur, where a BJP MP threatened the Police Superintendent at his house and elsewhere also.
After stern warnings, the chief minister gave the freedom to undertake encounters and the police has killed some criminals through this route in western UP, but its efficacy in crime control is yet to be seen.
Little Improvement in Administrative Machinery
After repeated promises, sugarcane arrears have not been cleared even at government-owned sugar mills even as the farmers are awaiting a decision on the payment of interest as promised in the Sankalp Patra.
Even Hukum Singh, BJP MP from Kairana, refuted the claim of the state government on sugarcane payment as he raised the issue in Parliament. Potato farmers have been forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices despite government claims of purchasing it at minimum price.
Polarisation in the bureaucracy has been further accentuated along caste lines. It is evident from the transfer list released by various departments. There is hardly any improvement in the administrative functioning, despite extended office timings of the District Magistrate (DM) and the Superintendent of Police, as accepted by the chief minister himself, based on the large number of applications received during Janta Darshan. Even after the chief minister’s insistence on declaring property, many officers have still not filed their details.
Skewed Power Equation and Unpopular Govt Moves
The political authority of the chief minister also seems to be missing due to the current arrangement of two deputy chief ministers and a power sharing formula between them, besides the influence of RSS functionaries. The tussle between Yogi Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini and BJP workers has been reported from various regions of the state, with the matter being raised by higher-ups at the coordination meeting. The BJP-RSS cadre feel humiliated with ministerial berths given to turncoats and sudden rise in influence of their supporters on the administrative machinery.
The Yogi government discontinued various popular welfare schemes of previous governments due to a paucity of funds, especially the Samajwadi Pension Yojna catering to 45 lakh women heads of their respective families and the Kamdhenu Yojna to help dairy farmers and landless labourers. The Poorvanchal Expressway between Lucknow and Varanasi, an ambitious project by the Akhilesh Yadav government, has also been shelved by the Yogi government.
No Noticeable Change
The response on serial deaths of children in Gorakhpur hospital and on train accident victims has exemplified the insensitivity of the chief minister. Yogi Adityanath visited Saharanpur but not nearby Khatauli where the train accident took place.
Releasing a white paper based on CAG reports on previous governments is an evidence of escapist attitude and disowning the responsibility. There is no noticeable change in the functioning of government except saffronisation taking over government functions and policy formulation.
(The writer is former member, UP Planning Commission. He can be reached @panwarsudhir1 . This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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