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Maharashtra Chief Minister delivers on drought package and transfer policies

The primary task to get the central financial assistance culminated in Rs 4,000 crore drought relief package.

At the end of one month chief minister Devendra Fadnavis lead government has made its mark in two major decisions related to combating drought and reforms in transfer policies in government.

In absence of full-fledged cabinet, Fadnavis appears to be going slow in taking hard decisions which could have a long term financial implications. The stress has been to firefight the issues on daily basis rather than take a couple of hard decisions that would make a mark.

In a candid admission, Fadnavis said, “The major challenge before us is tackling the severe drought. There are 19,069 villages reeling under agriculture drought out of the total 39,134 villages across Maharashtra.” However, Fadnavis has given impetus to the reforms in
power sector which he admits would take some more time to bring results.

In less than two weeks after he took the charge the government streamlined the coal linkages that helped in additional 1700 MW power. It helped to bring down the power outage by three hours daily in rural Maharashtra.

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The primary task to get the central financial assistance culminated in Rs 4,000 crore drought relief package and Rs 4,500 crore drought
mitigation package. A senior secretary in power ministry said, “Frankly, speaking you cannot expect outstanding policy decisions within a month. In power sector if we have to usher major reforms it would adversely affect 40 lakh farmers whose electricity dues we are waiving.”

The pressure to provide loan waiver also means the targeted agriculture growth of four per cent will not be met this year. The decision to rationalise power tariff to provide concessions to industries is also on hold because of drought.

However, Fadnavis appears to have focused on fixing the basic problems both inside and outside the government. He has sought the proposals from all 29 departments in Mantralaya to provide the strength and grades of officials. Thus making it clear that transfers of non-IAS category would be dealt by the concerned department head and not brought to the chief minister of concerned minister.

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The process of decentralisation including in home ministry which he holds has send a positive note in administration. A former Congress minister said, “If it is enforced in letter and spirit without political interference it would indicate they are seriously tackling corruption which has become rampant in transfer of officials.”

The decentralisation of transfer policy from minister to concerned head of departments in irrigation sector and Food and Drugs Administration is perceived as a big step forward to tackle corruption. The chief minister also indicated that government would like to empower the officials to bring more efficiency and accountability in administration.

While the government promises ten per cent growth in state, it does not explain how it would achieve the target minus growth in agriculture and industry. However, two decision which could have been taken relates to bringing an alternative to local body tax and toll tax policy. Fadnavis promise on both these issues appear on paper.

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Although he held discussions with various organisations and civic authorities. The government’s urgency to fast track coastal road still is still awaiting the formal nod from the union minister for environment Prakash Javadekar.

However, in one month chief minister has taken a decision to enroll comprehensive tribal policy to arrest migration and boost employment
and separate development package for naxals belt in state.

First published on: 01-12-2014 at 10:17:17 pm
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