The time for another bunch of extravagant promises is at hand. But the BJP government’s report card in Himachal Pradesh — a stocktaking of promises made and kept — shows an uneven performance.
While in some areas, the Prem Kumar Dhumal government has done well, there are areas which have received a decidedly short shrift.
Despite odds, the government’s biggest achievement lies in the social sector.
Numerous schemes were launched for women, children — especially the girl child — and socially backward communities. Rearing of livestock received special attention. So did Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, mid-day meal scheme and education for the girl child.
But the list of the shortcomings runs longer. Employment generation is still the state’s biggest problem. Despite opening a number of guidance cells, the government failed to deliver on the 70% job guarantee industrial sector. About 50% jobs were provided, found a survey by local agencies.
Worse, it failed to live up to the promises made in the agriculture sector.
“Despite the kisan credit card, crop insurance and the introduction of organic farming, foodgrain production showed marginal growth. The government also failed to meet its promise to provide Janta Bazars – local markets for farmers,” said a retired bureaucrat.
Tourism, the state’s major engine of growth, failed to achieve the expected results as well. The tourism department had proposed various projects -- ropeways, home stay for tourists and eco-tourism. But most of them fell flat.
Even poll promises on protection of forest areas failed to materialise. The government sterilised monkeys and plantation was initiated in various pockets. “But lack of proper planning and financial resources nullified the efforts,” said a social activist who did not want to be named.
The government also failed the women in the tribal areas.
The party had promised to develop infrastructure and launch development packages, but it failed to achieve much. Even women’s participation in tribal advisory councils was not ensured.