Without any perceptible challenge to his chief ministership, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is bubbling with confidence.“ I face no challenge,” he told Ranjan in a telephonic interview. Here are excerpts
How do you rate your journey as Chief Minister in the last one year?
The government has tremendous achievements to show. Besides the works on the BSP (Bijli, Sadak, Pani), my government has worked in the direction of employment generation for youths. A number of schemes were introduced for rural development. Interest rate on loans to farmers from cooperative banks was reduced to seven per cent. Crop insurance scheme and declaring Patwari halka as the basis for offering compensation package to calamity-hit farmers are other major steps.
The Kanyadan scheme has helped a sizeable number of poor families. With the scheme of institutional delivery maternal mortality rate (MMR) has come down to 26 from 46 per cent. Jalabhishek, School Chalen Hum, Samadhan Online, One-Day Governance are other historic steps. E-tendering would check ‘dadagiri’ and ‘goondagardi’ in the system and ensure transparency. Single table concept has been developed for industrial promotion. Round-the-clock power is being provided to industries. In all, I have made efforts to ensure speedy and balanced development in all spheres of life.
This means you don’t see any problem anywhere?
Problems are there. The tribals are in distress. Certain laws need to be amended in their larger interest. But the Centre is yet to respond to the State Government’s requests in this regard. A tribal convention has been convened on December 26 on the pattern of Kisan and Mahila panchayats. The government has to take a number of measures for welfare of farmers, Scheduled Castes, women and youth.
What challenges did you face during the past year and are still facing?
None. I faced no challenges except that of speeding up the pace of development.
Don’t you consider Uma Bharti a challenge?
For me development is the only challenge and I am focussed on my task.
I have always believed in politics of public welfare. So, I don’t take anybody’s name.
Congress has launched an agitation on farmers’ plight owing to load-shedding and erratic power supply. Your comment?
The Congress has no constructive task in hand. Being in the Opposition the party has to do something to show its existence.
You talk of purifying the ‘Gangotri’ to ensure purity downstream. But perception of your government being no less corrupt than previous governments persists.
The Ganga of the government machinery does not show any sign of decrease in pollution level. Any comment?
I will continue to cleanse the system. Wherever and whenever actions are required, I will take. The results will come soon.
You are on Mission 2008. What are preparations ?
The Mission 2008 is not only confined to the forthcoming Assembly elections but also the mission of development and public welfare. While achieving goals of development we will get through the elections.
Is replacement of Satyanarayan Jatia by your Cabinet colleague Narendra Singh Tomar as the State BJP president going to make your task easier?
Jatiaji did his best to enthuse the party. Tomar is a young leader who has headed the Panchayat and Rural Development department effectively. Under him the State stood first in the rural development. He will galvanise the party cadres further.
Your next goal?
I am determined to make agriculture a profitable venture. I want to effect amendments in the Forest Conservation Act 1980 for welfare of tribals but the Centre is not cooperating in this regard.