Six months of Rawat govt: Slow and not so steady, still confident
“We don’t doubt his (Rawat) capability and credibility as an administrator. But the fact is that not much has been happening on the ground in terms of growth since the BJP came to power,” points out Prof A R Nautiyal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University.dehradun Updated: Sep 17, 2017 20:19 IST
Governments are not run in haste. That retort had come from Trivendra Singh Rawat while replying to reporters days after he took charge as chief minister of Uttarakhand. The queries pertained to his rather “laid-back style of functioning” compared to his counterpart in Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath.
Six months on, the former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak is still seen as an administrator who works at his own pace. While analysts don’t question Rawat’s ability to put the resource-crunched hill state on the development trajectory, they do echo the mounting public concern that not much has happened on the ground in terms of delivery.
The “restiveness could be the result of the people’s unusually high expectations” of his government, which amply reflected in the mandate the BJP got in the assembly polls, say analysts.
‘Time to deliver’
“We don’t doubt his (Rawat) capability and credibility as an administrator. But the fact is that not much has been happening on the ground in terms of growth since the BJP came to power,” points out Prof A R Nautiyal of HNB Garhwal (Central) University.
Analysts do appreciate Rawat’s recent announcements to check forced migration from the hills and boost the key sectors such as agriculture, education and health.
But they feel he would have to act fast to translate those announcements on the ground to restore the people’s confidence. “People have lost faith in the system as they have been hearing only announcements by successive governments since the state’s formation 17 years ago,” said M M Semwal, also of HNB Garhwal University. “They won’t believe him (Rawat) until he delivers.”
Semwal feels Rawat will have to take some drastic measures to boost health, agriculture, education and infrastructure sectors while generating employment to check forced migration from the hills.
Referring to the health sector, for instance, Semwal says two top state-run medical institutions-- Sri Nagar Medical College and Sushila Tiwari Medical College (Haldwani) are in a complete mess. “Similarly, state-run hospitals in hill districts are facing acute paucity of doctors and infrastructure.”
No wonder, the Opposition appears bullish. “Progress in all sectors has been nil under this (BJP) government despite the massive mandate the ruling party got in the assembly polls…The growing tussle among the ministers has also badly affected the governance,” says Congress leader Surendra Aggarawal.
The CM refutes all allegations. “We are completely focused on facilitating development and have checked the rampant corruption under the previous (Congress) regime to a great extent,” he told HT recently.
Members of the intelligentsia seem to concur. “So far, there have been no reports relating to financial scams,” says Nautiyal. His colleague D R Purohit though feels it is time the Rawat government fulfilled its promise of passing the Lokayukta Bill. Enacting the anti-corruption law within 100 days of coming to power was one of the BJP’s main poll promises.
The CM asserts that initiatives such as transferring doctors to remote hill areas and equipping state hospitals with hi-tech facilities had also been initiated. Under an initiative to double the farmers’ income by 2022, they would be provided Rs 1 lakh loan each at a nominal 2% interest rate.
Prof JP Pauchauri, a social scientist, feels the intelligentsia being completely clueless about development and other schemes clearly shows the BJP’s organisational wing is not taking any interest in publicising them.
The intelligentsia is critical of the Rawat government’s recent move to impose dress code on teachers in secondary schools and on students in colleges. “I see in that a beginning on the part of the RSS to take the academic world under its ideological influence,” says M C Joshi, a professor at Kumaon University’s Nainital campus, referring to the ruling BJP’s ideological mentor. He says the RSS, an unconstitutional body, also tries to impose its Hindutva agenda on the BJP government by frequently monitoring its performance.
BJP state general secretary Naresh Bansal, however, strongly defends the RSS saying like any social group, it also has a right to offer its suggestions to the state government. On the issue of dress code he says, “If the majority of academics and students feel they are not okay with it (dress code), the government will consider their view point…Nothing will be imposed on them,” he clarifies. Bansal also refutes the Opposition’s allegations about the tussle among the members of the Cabinet.