The story of Madhya Pradesh can be put in three words “Nightmare to fairytale to nightmare again”. Yes, the verdict sounds a little harsh but considering the whirlwind performance of Madhya Pradesh government in the last four years, one can’t help but fear this trend.
SKOCH has been studying and documenting good governance practices for more than a decade and releasing the Governance Index of India. The effort has always been to bring in direct inputs from the field in the form of case studies, grassroots’ implementation and policy influences. Therefore, what could be termed as an impressive governance initiative for one or few states may not be the same for others, given their history of development and advancement. If we talk about Madhya Pradesh based on these parameters, while the state had topped the overall state ranking in the year 2015, it slipped to 4th position next year in 2016 and dipped further to number 7 in 2017. This year, the state stood at the 10th position, the worst performance in four years. This can largely be attributed to the bureaucracy, which bit more than it could chew to deliver to the targeted objectives.
As part of the State of Governance study, SKOCH sent request letters and also contacted through different channels like telephones and emails to all ministries, departments, municipalities, district administration and other government bodies for sharing project details and their achievements. The response was lackluster. As a result only 24 projects made to the shortlist. All of these projects were thoroughly studied and examined by the domain experts.
The Story So far
When Shivraj Singh Chouhan took over the BIMARU state of Madhya Pradesh in the year 2005, nobody was expecting any firecrackers and there was no way to drastically usher in development. In Chouhan’s own words, the state “faced the formidable challenge of removing historical constraints of developments”. There were serious issues of building confidence, scripting growth trajectories, curbing graft especially in delivery of public services, attracting investment, making bureaucracy effective and accountable and above all creating positive vibes. Although Chouhan had his share of struggles in the initial phase, he found his rhythm in quick time to lead the state.
One vital strategic vision that helped Chouhan achieve a stupendous turnaround was his determination to revamp the primary sector, which employs about 70 per cent of the state population. Therefore, agriculture and allied sector received massive boost from the state. The result of this dedicated focus was that Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest agricultural growth in the country for the year 2013-14. This was indeed an astonishing feat for a state that had a long history of low agricultural GDP. According to the data released by the Central Statistical Organisation, Madhya Pradesh’s agricultural growth was at an all-time high and the state had overtaken Punjab as the country’s grain bowl. The state that was producing 73.27 lakh MT in 2004-05 was now yielding a mammoth 193 lakh MT in 2013-14, a record 9.2 per cent share in the country’s total food basket. Madhya Pradesh was now the largest producer of oilseed in the country and “I thought until agriculture became profitable, the lives of the people would not improve I have always said that agriculture should be about profit, it should be about business,” Chauhan had then remarked.
The same approach was extended to social and development and similar strategies were implemented in education, health, sanitation ad Public Distribution System. The nation could see that Madhya Pradesh leadership had carefully thought through the strategic vision, challenges and means to attend such ambitious targets.
The unprecedented growth of Madhya Pradesh clearly reflected in its performance in SKOCH Awards as well, when it jumped to Numero Uno in 2015.
However, there has been a downslide ever since. While last year the state slid to number 7, the overall state ranking of Madhya Pradesh is 10 this year. What is the reason behind this downfall? Has the chief minster lost his spark or is the vision blurred? The policies were brainstormed, formulated, recognised and implemented but despite all these checks, is the government sure that the execution of these policies has been foolproof and the quintessential lackadaisical approach that is the biggest enemy of this country has led to their slowdowns? And the biggest question is: Can the government still salvage what is lost and would the public of Madhya Pradesh look at their hero in a new light and with another chance?
These are some questions that need to be analysed and understood. Madhya Pradesh government has set high benchmarks with their performance in the past but what ails the state suddenly. Let’s have a look at how the state has performed in different sectors vis-à-vis their performances last years.
The Sports Hub, Trivandrum is the new benchmark in sports infrastructure in India. Built over 37 acres, the facility integrates sport, recreation and leisure. Developed by IL&FS group (in Public Private Partnership with Govt. of Kerala), the facility comprises 50,000 capacity state-of-the-art cricket-cum- football stadium and facilities such as Indoor Sports Arena, Club House, Convention and Exhibition Centre and Olympic size Swimming Pool.
The Sports Hub Trivandrum is also home to Sports Hub Academy. Ultramodern infrastructure and a team of experienced professionals and certified coaches are backbone of this academy under whose tutelage the champions of tomorrow are forged. The Sports Hub is also home for community engagement programmes like walker’s club, swimmer’s club, etc. In addition to these programmes, a number of community engagement programmes and tourism initiatives are in the pipeline encompassing active lifestyle.
Travancore Gymkhana Club, a rare confluence of sports, recreation, leisure and lifestyle, is a destination for healthy and active lifestyle for the entire family. The Club aspires to enhance the quality of life of its members by providing the best sporting, dining, recreation and fitness facilities, a dynamic event calendar and an environment that enriches the mind, body and soul. The clubhouse facilities include indoor sports facilities for badminton, table tennis, basketball, squash, chess, caroms and snooker, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym, library, café, etc. The wellstructured event calendar ensures that the members from all age groups have access to quality entertainment throughout the year. Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) has acquired the license rights for bringing prominent cricket matches to the Sports Hub.
Jalanidhi Phase II
In the year 1999, the Kerala Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (KRWSA) was created to implement a pilot program, Jalanidhi I, based on GOI sector reform principles, which successfully demonstrated an alternative service delivery model focused on clear roles and responsibilities for communities and GPs and on reaching those without coverage. From 2001 to 2008, Kerala successfully implemented a World Bank-financed Jalanidhi-I project in 112 GPs of the state. Jalanidhi-I demonstrated how to undertake decentralised investment, while achieving highly satisfactory service delivery. The project followed a demand responsive approach encompassing beneficiary participation, capital cost contributions from beneficiaries and the GPs, universal household connection provision, full operation and maintenance cost recovery from user fees, and an integrated strategy to the water, sanitation, environment and health sectors.
Jalanidhi-II is a sequel to the Jalanidhi-I and is intended to implement during 2012-18. The World Bank approved a credit amount of $155.3 million for implementing the project for a total estimate of RS1,022.30 crore which was revised to S1358 crore during Mid-Term Review of the project. The project aims to cover about 17.46 lakh rural people for water supply and sanitation services. The project aims to cover 115 Gram Panchayats of Kerala. The main components of the programme are small water supply schemes including rehabilitation of single GP/ KWA schemes, large water supply schemes covering more than one Village Panchayats and preparation & development of water security plan for the GPs.
Besides the ones mentioned above, four more projects in the state have enough potential to excel and give a push to the state’s overall development. The projects have been in the Health, Police & Safety, Finance & Revenue and Agriculture sectors.
Operation Sagar Rani
Project “Sagar Rani” is to eliminate the unethical usage of preservatives like sodium benzoate, formalin and ammonia in fish to enhance the shelf life of fish. In the mid-2016, newspapers and visual media brought this issue back to the public forum by raising allegations of the widespread use of sodium benzoate as preservative which is an unethical method that possess a threat to food safety. The Food Safety Department flagged off the project to eliminate the unethical usage of pesticides by various activities like awareness program with the help of other departments like Fisheries, Health, Urban Affairs and Panchayat, continuous surveillance by collecting samples of fish for analysis from harbours, markets, distribution centers and transporters who bring fish from other states to Kerala, exhibiting hoardings in markets and other places of fish trade, and distributing notices and pamphlets as part of awareness programme.
Ayush Gramam project, under National Ayush Mission with support of Indian System of Medicine, has introduced this novel healthcare intervention programme. ‘Ayush Gramam’ spreads awareness within the community for practice of those dietary habits and life styles as described in Ayush way of life and interventions of health care. In Ayush village, Ayush based life styles are promoted through Behavioural Change Communication (BCC), training of village health workers towards identification and use of local medicinal herbs and provisions of AYUSH health services and to raise campaign against communicable diseases like malaria, TB, diarrhea, etc. In Thrissur district this project has been implemented in 5 Panchayats.
Kerala Police Cyberdome
In the rapidly growing and changing digital world, the investigation of cybercrimes and ensuring cyber security for citizens is one of the most challenging areas for the law enforcement agencies. Since modern day cybercrimes involve the use of most modern and sophisticated technologies, as well as anonymity over the internet, it becomes extremely difficult for the police to investigate such crimes. The cyber criminals now work in a borderless environment with legal systems of multiple jurisdictions. To make things worse, cybercrime has been evolving at an astonishing rate. Unfortunately, the police system is not equipped to take a pivotal role in cybercrime investigations and prevention of cybercrimes. Taking into account the broader impact of these challenges in the cyber space, Kerala Police initiated the project for the establishment of a hi-tech centre for cyber security and innovations at Trivandrum in Kerala.
Cyberdome is a technological research and development centre of Kerala Police, conceived as a cyber centre of excellence in cyber security, as well as technology augmentation for effective policing. It envisages as a hi-tech public-private partnership centre of collaboration for different stakeholders in the domain of cyber security and handling of cybercrimes in a proactive manner. One of the main objectives of Cyberdome is to prevent cybercrimes by developing a cyber-threat resilient ecosystem in the state to defend against the growing threat of cyber-attacks by synergising with other departments and nodal agencies of the state. Cyberdome makes a collective coordination among the government departments and agencies, academia, research groups, non-profitable organisations, individual experts from the community, ethical hackers, private organisations, and other law enforcement agencies in the country with an aim of providing a safe and secure cyber world for each and every citizen in the state.
Project ‘e-Rekha’ is an online based cadastral data repository which allows citizens to search their land records (maps) anywhere, anytime and download the records after paying online. The project was launched in 2016 and is owned and operated by the Kerala Land Information Mission under Survey & Land Records Department. e-Rekha mainly focuses on easy and transparent access of land records services delivery through online medium.
Economic Review 2017 reflects comprehensively on the impact of developments as well as the interventions made by the state government in various sectors over the last year. The growth rate in the economy, both national and state, in 2016-17 was around 7 per cent. The situation was exacerbated by drought in Kerala in 2017. In the industrial sector, public sector undertakings under chemical and electronic sectors are being transformed from loss-making to profit-making enterprises.
Kerala was declared as the first digital state in the country in February 2016. The Government’s Information Technology Policy of 2017 aims to achieve a total digitally literate society. In the field of education, a significant achievement has been the increase in enrolment in government schools. The success of the state’s major scheme for the elderly population has been acknowledged by the Government of India.
The state right now is busy rebuilding itself after one of the worst calamities it faced. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been widely praised for steering the state administration that has been trying to cope with the worst deluge since the state came into being in 1957. The floods caused colossal damage to the small state and left more than 380 people dead and over one million others displaced.
Vijayan’s leadership will continue to be crucial during the massive rebuilding exercise that will now begin in Kerala.