Adityanath must realise it makes economic sense to keep abattoirs open
If the Yogi is committed to sabka saath sabka vikas and development is really his agenda then the advice he’s been offered deserves careful consideration. And if he rejects it he needs to be aware of the high cost of doing so. But if he wishes to succeed a few unfulfilled promises is a small price to pay.columns Updated: Apr 30, 2017 08:24 IST
Anand Singh Bisht is a wise man. The 85-year old father of the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, has revealed the advice he gives his son. As the Yogi embarks on his new role he should bear his father’s words in mind.
“I do try and tell Adityanath to keep a check on his speeches but he follows his own mind”, the elder Mr Bisht said. “I hope that he follows the BJP’s agenda of sabka saath sabka vikas. This is also my advice to him that he should follow the BJP’s agenda, which is inclusive of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, the rich and the poor.”
The Yogi’s sister-in-law, Asha Devi, has shed further light on his relationship with his father. “Whenever Mahantji comes home, his father sits with him and tells him to keep calm. His father tells him to keep certain things in his heart and not be too vocal about everything he feels.”
This advice is not just well meant but necessary. After all, the Yogi has made a career of saying provocative and offensive things. Now is definitely the moment to change. As his father put it: “Ab jimmedari badi ho gayee hai.”
There are, however, two specific areas where he would do well to think carefully before he proceeds to implement his party’s manifesto promises. I realise after its sweeping mandate he must feel the BJP’s manifesto has got widespread acceptance and must be fully implemented. But in two areas the reality of the state he rules should make him think again.
Uttar Pradesh has a fiscal deficit of 5.85%. It’s more than doubled since 2013-14. Though the country’s largest state, its growth rate is amongst the lowest, its per capita income half the national average and its poverty rate, at 30 per cent, one of the worst. UP’s share in India’s GDP is 7% but its share of the population is 17%. Against this background would it be wise to fully and immediately implement the manifesto promise to waive all outstanding loans to farmers and to hereafter ensure all new loans are interest free?
The State Bank has estimated the loan waiver will cost Rs 27,420 crore or 8% of UP’s revenues. This could severely damage the state exchequer. The Yogi must find a way of getting out of this reckless promise whilst still retaining his credibility.
The second promise that needs to be rethought is the commitment to shut both illegal and mechanised slaughter-houses. This was always poorly thought-through because UP has many legal mechanised slaughter houses which employ thousands and is India’s biggest buffalo meat exporter, a category accounting for 1.56% of all exports and growing at nearly 30% annually.
These are good reasons for reconsidering. Illegal slaughter houses, which should never exist in the first place, must be shut. However, mechanised ones operating with government permission must be permitted to continue. Ensuring they do not abuse their licence is one thing. Shutting them down would be simply wrong.
If the Yogi is committed to sabka saath sabka vikas and development is really his agenda then the advice he’s been offered deserves careful consideration. And if he rejects it he needs to be aware of the high cost of doing so. But if he wishes to succeed a few unfulfilled promises is a small price to pay.
The views expressed are personal