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2010 - A Year of Participatory Governance

Bhopal : Wednesday, December 29, 2010


AS

 

The year 2010 in the development history of Madhya Pradesh will be remembered as a year of participatory governance. The enactment of Public Services Guarantee Act, Global Investors' Summit at Khajuraho, special Assembly Session passing 70-point resolutions for growth and prosperity, launch of ambitious Atal Child Health and Nutrition Mission and celebration of the spirit of Sarva Dharma Sambhav outshined the happenings in 2010. The impact will be distinctly visible in 2011 onwards.

The Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan becomes the first Chief Minister to have fostered an agenda of electoral reforms. The State Assembly under his leadership pushed an agenda of electoral reforms. The positive fallout was the regional consultation on election reform at Bhopal organized by the Union Ministry of Law and Election Commission of India. Vital issues and major concerns for clean and healthy politics in the largest democracy came out generating a public debate.

The most significant legislation guaranteeing timely delivery of services to people was enacted. The month of July will always be referred to as historic in the law making history of Madhya Pradesh. When state governments are suffering either from ill-governance or over governance, this radical law comes as a respite to people. The Chief Minister Shri Chouhan has made the administrative machinery realize that service to people is the top priority. The government officials exist for the people and therefore should ever remain accountable to them. On another hand, the law has also sensitized people about their entitlements.

The most remarkable message Madhya Pradesh has given is that participatory governance is an effective solution to complex problems. People must take part in governance processes. A sense of belongingness must prevail. They must realize their supportive role in governance - individually or collectively. Participatory governance is the key to sustainable growth. Every citizen has a role to play provided enough space is created for voluntary participation. Let community and the government act together for desired impact of development initiatives. Concern for this is reflective in Aao Banaye Apna Madhya Pradesh drive. This initiative drew attention. Intended to narrow the distance between masses and the governance machinery, this campaign awakened people to their rights, entitlements and duties as a citizen. Enthusiastic people resolved to actively participate in development programmes.

The Vanvasi Samman Yatra, intended to ensure socio-economic advancement of tribal communities proved a success in terms of resolving governance issues on the basis of first hand feedback. Dialogues with the tribal communities during the Yatra suggested corrective measures to improve service delivery mechanisms at grassroots level. A number of important decisions like construction of memorials of tribal martyrs, 30 percent royalties on minerals for local development, minimum support price for Chironji and Mahua, appointing 80 thousand teachers, 30 percent of profit from timber to members of forest protection committees, skill development campaign for tribal youths, one percent Mandi tax on cotton stem from the feedback during Vanvasi Samman Yatra.

In fact the Vanvasi Samman Yatra proved an instrument to gather inputs for improving participatory governance. Important inputs like payment of wage under MNREGA through mobile banking resulting into policy decisions came to fore during the Yatra. Another important decision of sending special teams of officers for reconsidering the rejected cases of forest land right titles under the Forest Rights Act also originated from the feed back during the Yatra.

The State Assembly's session in the month of May made a legislative history. The three day special session was devoted to visioning of Madhya Pradesh during which multi-layered painstaking exercises was done to draw out futuristic strategies for inclusive development. Consequently, a charter of 70-point resolutions was adopted. This proved fundamental directives for future policies and modification of the existing ones in the changing contexts.

The epoch-making happening was the enactment of Public Services Guarantee Act, which drew nationwide attention. Many state governments are evincing interest. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act guarantees 100 days job and the Madhya Pradesh Public Services Guarantee Act guarantees delivery of services. It is a futuristic law. The citizens in the remote rural areas will soon be pro-actively using the Act as weapon against the lethargic administrative staff. The Chief Minister Shri Chouhan continues his drive to sensitize the people to arm themselves with the knowledge of the Act. On the other hand, training and orientation of administrative staff is going on in a phased manner. The Act expects officials to realize their rights and entitlements and administrative machinery to be accountable to people. The 2010 indeed is a tribute to democratic rights of common people.

The Global Investors' Meet at Khajuraho was a hugely successful business summit in terms of investment commitments. This witnessed announcement of new Industrial Promotion Policy 2010. A series of investors' meets organized across the country as a part of aggressive advocacy of Madhya Pradesh as the most favoured industry-friendly state culminated into Khajuraho's Global Investors' Summit. Corporate giants unfolded their investment plans. The Chief Minister kept firmly his focus on the corporate social responsibility making it clear that benefits of industrial growth must go to the deprived sections.

The 2010 also witnessed an initiative, which no chief minister took in last five decades. The celebration of the spirit of Sarva Dharma Sambhav evoked tremendous response from all religious heads and communities. This is oft-quoted in speeches but Shivraj Singh Chouhan practically demonstrated it to send a message far and wide how a state in a democratic set up can celebrate the cultural and religious plurality. As a humble initiative, all major religious events were celebrated at the premises of CM's official residence witnessing enthusiastic participation of all communities. A new tradition has begun.

The Chief Minister's announcement for a single member inquiry commission into Bhopal gas tragedy was a remarkable decision. Report of Inquiry Commission will be a landmark. The launch of Atal Child Health and Nutrition Mission made the year 2010 more significant. The goverment-community-corporate responsibility to end malnourishment among children came into focus. A number of important decisions and reformative steps were taken in 2010 but participatory governance and innovative development practices dominated the year opening up new horizons.

 

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