First 100 Days: Odisha CM Mohan Majhi Aims To Reset Governance Tone

Bhubaneswar: The Mohan Majhi-led BJP government in Odisha has hit the ground running since taking oath on Wednesday. Four decisions were taken in the first Cabinet meeting at Lok Seva Bhawan here. Soon, the CM started functioning from the State Guest House. A blueprint is also being prepared for the tasks to be carried out in the first 100 days.

Big Decision On Puri Jagannath Temple

The government fulfilled an important promise made during the elections by deciding to open all four gates of Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri. The gates had remained closed since COVID pandemic in 2000 and devotees faced hardships while waiting in long queues at Singhadwara (Lion’s Gate) for darshan of the sibling deities.

“Devotees were facing hardship as three gates were closed for a long time. This was creating a divide between the devotees and the Lord. Opening of the four gates will ensure smooth flow of devotees into the temple,” Majhi said.

After ‘Mangala Alati’, the first daily ritual of the temple, the four gates were opened on Thursday in presence of the CM and his Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and Puri MP Sambit Patra. The government also approved setting up a corpus fund of Rs 500 crore for immediate requirement of the 12th-century shrine.

From Farmers To Women……

The Cabinet also decided to formulate ‘Samrudha Krushak Niti’ (comprehensive policy for farmers) and form a committee to give recommendations on the proposal to increase the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy to Rs 3,100 per quintal, another poll promise of the BJP. The Agriculture department has been asked to prepare guidelines and an elaborate action plan for it within the next 100 days and submit to the government for consideration and approval.

Unless the Centre agrees to bear the Rs 917 raise, the state government would have to expend it from its own coffers.

The new government, in its first 100 days, will also implement the centrally-sponsored Subhadra Yojana under which cash voucher of Rs 50,000 will be provided to each women beneficiary and it can be encashed over two years. “The departments have been told to prepare guidelines and roadmaps for implementation of the scheme,” the CM said, while criticising the previous BJD government of having failed in women’s empowerment and children’s welfare.

Secretariat Access To Journalists After 4 Years

The BJP government threw open the gates of Lok Seva Bhawan, the epicentre of state’s administration, to mediapersons on the very first day in office. The secretariat had remained out of bounds for journalists for almost four years with the Naveen Patnaik government having prohibited their entry during the COVID pandemic. Even after the COVID scourge receded, the previous BJD government refused to lift the ban on their entry despite demand by Opposition leaders and journalists’ associations, which was seen as an attempt to muzzle the fourth estate

The BJP had made it a poll issue during campaigning and committed that it will lift the undemocratic practice if voted to power.

Temporary CMO In State Guest House

On his second day in office, Majhi started functioning from State Guest House even as the CMO on the third floor of Lok Seva Bhawan was being readied. He called several senior officers for discussions on the decisions to be taken by the BJP government in its first 100 days. He had a separate meeting with officers of the Housing and Urban Development department. He also held discussions regarding the forthcoming Assembly session with the secretaries concerned.

Officers Hauled Up For Inefficiency

The CM reviewed functioning of different departments and reportedly reprimanded officers for ‘inefficient’ administrative mechanism. He also sough clarifications over the deteriorating administrative system in the state. It is being speculated that there could be a major bureaucratic reshuffle to streamline work.

On Friday, Majhi also chaired a meeting with top officers during which Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena made a presentation on Odisha’s overall development, economic status, ongoing welfare schemes, investment proposals, upcoming projects and challenges.

….Miles To Go

A shift in approach is also indicated in Majhi’s demeanour and interactions with the public and the media, signalling at better accessibility, transparency and accountability in governance. The BJD government was criticised for ‘outsourcing the administration’ with the entire power hijacked by a coterie.

While stating that protecting Odisha’s ‘Asmita’ (pride) will be the priority of his government, the CM has promised to reach out to the people of the state and complete works, which have been hanging fire for 50 years, in 5 years.

The full-fledged budget for 2024-25 fiscal, which is likely to be tabled in the Assembly next month, may also set the stage for adopting the BJP’s 21 poll promises to the people. The BJP has promised to fill 1.5 lakh government vacancies, including 65,000 posts in the first two years, besides Rs 5,000 to each tribal student every year, free breakfast scheme for students, creating 25 lakh lakhpati didis by 2027, pension of Rs 3,000 a month to elderly, physically challenged, widows and destitute.

The BJP government also has to take a call on the the populist schemes of the previous regime, including Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), Mission Shakti, school transformation, LAccMI and Mamata. It has already ordered for removal of 5T Charter Boards from all high schools under the transformation scheme. It has also promised to implement the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat scheme in the first 100 days of its government.

Will the double engine government be able to keep its promise to take Odisha to ‘new heights of progress’? Will it be able to live up to the narrative set during the polls? Will it be able to meet the expectations of the people?

It is a bumpy road ahead and the first challenge before the government is to deliver on the promises made during the election campaign.


Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.