Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who was sworn in on Thursday, promised to focus on providing better education, jobs and health care in the state.
“There are so many problems [in Maharashtra]. There is scope to improve in education, employment and health care,” Chavan said while addressing his first press conference after taking charge at the Chief Minister’s Office in Mantralaya.
He said his priority would be to match the state’s growth with India’s growth rate. “I say we can do better than that because resources and finance are not an issue. What we need to do is plan better,” said Chavan.
Chavan said that providing housing for all and creating better infrastructure was among the biggest challenges before the government. “The agriculture and power sectors are equally important,” he added.
The chief minister said he would work towards creating a socio-economic and regional balance. “The gap between the rich and the poor is growing. But Maharashtra has the strength to reach the pinnacle of all-inclusive development,” Chavan said.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar assured the Nationalist Congress Party’s cooperation to its coalition partner. “We will ensure that no particular region gets preference [in development schemes]. The chief minister brings with him vast experience of working in the Prime Minister’s Office and he knows how to get more funds for our state,” said Pawar.
That apart, the low-profile Chavan has the trust of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and his pro-reform leaning has the strong approval of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
As a member of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-Left Coordination Committee on the India-US nuclear deal, Chavan advocated the government’s agenda and played a major role in the smooth passage of the civic nuclear liability bill in Parliament.
At the Centre, Chavan held five portfolios, the highest by any minister in the UPA, including science and technology, earth sciences, parliamentary affairs, public grievances and pension, and personnel.