Archive for the ‘Orissa Politics’ Category
In an unusual move that has been taken to teach the corrupt officials a lesson while creating assets for the public use, the Naveen Patnaik Government of Orissa has aanounced to convert the confiscated property of a tainted IAS officer into a public Homeopathy dispensary.
While making the announcement, the chief minister Naveen Patnaik, said that henceforth the State Government would act tough against corrupt officials and utilize all confiscated properties for public purposes. Sanjib Ray, the IAS officer whose buiiding was confiscated recently and then turned into a dispensary, was found guilty in a disproportionate assets case . The dispensary will be open for public from next week and the government will provide free treatment here to the public at large.
The chief Minister also said that this unique initiative will be continued with full vigor in the government’s objective to make the state “Zero Tolerance to Corption”. The state vigilance department of Orissa has shown exceptional performance over the past year in its drive against corruption by filing 95 cases against 40 IAS officer. Of these, chargesheets have been filed against 13 IAS officers. Similarly chargesheets were filesd against 6 IPS officers in 10 cases and 10 IFS officers in 9 cases.
Mr Patnaik said that the state government has already established 12 Special Judge (Vigilance) Courts for speedy disposal of vigilance cases pending trial of which eleven courts are functional, which is the highest number in any state to try PC Act cases exclusively.
Continuing with his spree of pre-panchayat poll sops for rural Orissa, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday launched the ambitious Mamata Scheme, a conditional electronic cash transfer program for benefit of pregnant women in the state.
Naveen said pregnant women registered with anganwadi centers will receive Rs 5000 in four installments under the scheme. It aims not only at reducing infant mortality and maternal rates but also help in improving the nutrition status of pregnant women and newborn babies. “The installments have been designed to ensure that a pregnant woman gets cash assistance every 3 months after her second trimester. The last installment would be given on completion of measles immunization. This, I hope would greatly improve the total immunization coverage of all our children,” Naveen added.
More than 50,000 pregnant women received their first installment of Rs 1500 on the inaugural day, official sources said.
The state government had announced the scheme, modeled on an ongoing initiative in Tamil Nadu, some time back and registration of pregnant women commenced from September 5. “It is heartening to note that within a span of one month nearly, two lakh pregnant women have registered under this scheme,” Naveen informed.
With an obvious aim to woo the rural electorate ahead of the three-tier panchayat elections scheduled early next year, the ruling BJD has of late unveiled several new schemes for improved rural healthcare, village road connectivity, education and public distribution system.
Official sources said the Mamata scheme aims to cover all pregnant women above 19 years associated with various rural projects in the state. An assistance of Rs 5000 will be given in installments to every eligible pregnant woman.
Official sources said the Mamata scheme will be the largest state-sponsored scheme after the Rs two a kg rice scheme. Nearly six lakh pregnant women will be covered every year under Mamata resulting in an annual disbursement of Rs 350 crore. For the subsidized rice scheme, the state government spends around Rs 900 crore annually.
“A unique feature of Mamata scheme is that fund transfer to beneficiaries will only be done through electronic means directly to their accounts. This is the first time direct electronic transfer of funds to beneficiary accounts through online banking has been attempted on such a largescale in the country in any social sector programme,” Naveen, who interacted with beneficiaries of Ganjam, Koraput, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur, among others, through video conferencing, said. “I call upon all the bankers of the State to come forward and partner Government in this revolution. This is true financial inclusion and a definite step towards financial empowerment of rural women,” he added.
If politics is a marketing gimmick, then politicians are master marketers who know the values of brands and the ways of branding like nobody else in the world. The politics of branding heavyweight leaders and then selling them to the voters is an art that most political parties have mastered over the years. Names of the Gandhis work wonder in many states in India while Ambeskar sells the most in Uttar Pradesh and why forget about brand Kamraj that work wonders in Tamilnadu owing to superhuman efforts by respective political parties.
So how our own Orissa could be left behind? When Orissa Chief minister Naveen Patnaik launched a government scheme of building 400 bridges in three years in Orissa, he aptly named it the “ Biju Setu Yojna”!
And this is not the first time this has been done by Naveen Patnaik. Giving his father’s name to a project is something which comes naturally to Naveen and it seems the strategy has worked wonders for him. Besides his party, the Biju Janata Dal, many projects bearing the name of his charismatic father have been launched those were well chimed in with the elections.
In 2006-07, he launched the Biju KBK Yojna after the Centre had slashed funds under a revised plan, called RLTAP, for eight districts in the poverty-stricken KBK belt. In 2007, Naveen announced a statewide rural electrification scheme, Biju Gramjyoti Yojana, which ran parallel to the national Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana. Again, after the Kandhamal riots of 2008, he launched the Biju Kandhamal Yojna and Biju Gajapati Yojna, specialized development packages for two backward districts.
And there are awards too. The Biju Krushak Vikash Yojana promotes minor and lift irrigation; the Biju Patnaik Youth, Sports and Bravery Awards celebrate the achievements of state’s sportsmen; the Biju Patnaik Award for Scientific Excellence recognises scientific talent. And Biju Patnaik’s birthday on March 9 has been celebrated as Panchayatiraj Siwas for the last few years.
Last week, Naveen presented the Biju Patnaik Award for Wildlife Conservation started by the forest and environment department in 2004.
And though Naveen speaks of the “unfinished dreams of Biju babu”, it is but natural that the name of Biju babu goes well with the voters!
It was a vain idea that came to my mind. And as I typed the keyword ‘ORISSA’ in the Google search engine, what came in as result was not only shocking but also a great eye opener. Of all the result that the search engine threw, almost half of the results displayed pages relating to forced conversions, Hindutva and violence on Christians. And I was compelled to think ,after all the glory of the past, all the culture that we preserve and all the resources that we command, has it come to so bad that all we are being associated with; all we are being spoken about, is only Violence, barbarism and savagery?
Let us acknowledge this,Post independence, there have been aberrations in the state’s history with the rise of extremist forces propagating Hindutva.But our history dates far beyond the national independence! An effort to track the roots of Extremist Hindu forces across the pages of Orissa’s history might not take us beyond 1964 but our actual History goes back to the Buddhist Era. And forget about the past, even in the post independence period, Orissa has marked its place in the national map with awesome contributions like the Hirakud Dam, the Rourkela steel plant ,the Chandipur missile testing range to name a few. We have the regional head Quarters of East Coast railways, the Paradip port, the upcoming Ship building yard at Dhamara and numerous cement and iron and Steel industries among others. Among the flora and Fauna We have the Nandan kanan,the only natural home to the famed White Bengal tigers, the Chandaka reserve, the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary, the Simlipal tiger reserve and above all the most diverse and largest variety of tribal communities. Then how can we overlook the handloom from Orissa that has a fan following that defies national frontier!
However unfortunate it may sound but it is a fact that with so many resources at disposal and so many achievements to show, we are one of the most backward states in the Country. And it is more so embarrassing that districts like Kandhmal/Keonjahar/Boudh that have grabbed the cynosure of attention in the world for all wrong reasons making Orissa a subject of discussion in the international arena, are the districts that are grossly underdeveloped. Incidentally it is the same district of Kandhmal and Boudh that are yet to see a railway track even after 61 years of independence. It is really surprising that instead of concentrating on these core issues of the prevalent under development, poverty and illiteracy in these tribal areas, what our media is concentrating on issues of conversions that have been exaggerated beyond proportions.
Education and economic development are the only tools that can be used against social evils like terrorism, forced conversions and exploitation by extremists. It is not difficult to point why conversions of any forms in whichever part of the country has been practiced, has been done only on the innocent, illiterate tribals who have been inhabiting regions that were untouched by any form of development plans of the government. What is needed to stop barbarism on a particular community and to that extent stop any sort of conversion is a great awakening; awakening that comes with education. Let the aborigines who have been used and abused by different communities in the name of religion, become aware of their own priorities; let them participate in the main course of politics and participate actively in the development of their own regions. Apart from this, the media has to play a constructive role by also focusing on issues that concern tribal development apart from conversions.
More importantly the intelligentsia and expatriates of Orissa, which has nothing major to show in the development of the state has to come out with their voice and play an active role in keeping the Government on toes for carrying on planned development activities. Only then will we be able to restore our lost glory and stand tall in the national and international forum.
Bande Utkal Janani.