2 Kerala officials head to Gujarat to study e-governance initiatives. Barbs follow

Apr 27, 2022 06:36 PM IST

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan came under attack from the Congress for sending the state’s top civil servant to Gujarat, wondering if it was on account of a ‘give and take’ between the CPM and the BJP

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A two-member team led by Kerala chief secretary VP Joy on Wednesday left for Gujarat capital Gandhinagar to take a close look at the state government’s much-touted e-governance initiatives for project implementation such as the CM Dashboard.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last visit to Delhi and was advised to study Gujarat’s e-governance initiatives (ANI)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his last visit to Delhi and was advised to study Gujarat’s e-governance initiatives (ANI)

The two officials will spend two days in Gandhinagar to study the state’s e-governance initiatives.

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On April 26, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Communist Party of India (Marxist) government issued an order that announced that the chief secretary and IAS officer NSK Umesh, staff officer to the chief secretary, will be going to Gujarat for two days (April 27-29).

As news of the rare tour to Gujarat emerged, the Congress rushed to allege that the visit may signal a deal between the CPM and BJP.

“It is part of a give and take between CPI(M) and BJP. We all know the fate of inquiries conducted by central agencies in the state including gold smuggling and SNC Lavalin cases. The chief minister always says Kerala is number one, then why is he going to Gujarat,” said Kerala Congress president K Sudhakaran.

The BJP, on the other hand, commended the Left front government for its choice of place and “asked Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan to follow the Gujarat model for good governance.”

CPI secretary Kanam Rajendran played down the trip saying “officials used to visit other states to learn about new schemes and projects” and there was no point in making it an issue.

The Gujarat visit by Kerala’s top civil servant and his aide is unusual.

In 2009, the party expelled MP AP Abdullahkutty for praising the Gujarat model of development and then chief minister Narendra Modi.

In 2013 when labour minister Shibu Baby John in the Oommen Chandy government visited Gujarat, the Left severely criticised him, threatened protests and eventually forced Chandy to seek an explanation from him. In 2010, the party shot down a proposal to make actor Amitab Bachchan brand ambassador of the state tourism because he endorsed Gujarat also. The turnaround raised many questions but the party brushed them aside.

It is learnt that during his last visit to Delhi in March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Pinarayi Vijayan about Gujarat government’s tracking system of project implementation, something that Vijayan was interested in,

The Gujarat CM Dashboard was developed in 2019 when Vijay Rupani was chief minister. It enables the chief minister to get minute details of government projects and initiatives. People aware of the development said the CM dashboard will enable the chief minister to access realtime real-time performance check of various departments and target setting.

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    Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

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