The Last Mile Approach

When we formed the government of Chhattisgarh in 2018, we knew that the massive mandate given by the people was for a change in governance and policies of the state. With various measures, we are bringing a silent revolution to empower the people in the state

By Bhupesh Bhagel
  • With our new pro-people policies, we have changed the scenario and today’s Bastar is far more peaceful 
  • Reopening schools was a start. The goal of fair and equitable education is being achieved through ‘Swami Atmanand English Medium School Scheme’  
  • To restore the autonomy and agency of our villages and complete utilisation of natural resources ‘Narwa Garwa Ghuruwa Bari’ was introduced  
  • With schemes like ‘Godhan Nyay Yojna’ and Rural Industrial Park Scheme (RIPA), we are making visible changes in the rural economy

IN the last few months, I visited Himachal Pradesh many times as part of a political assignment. During my time there, I closely observed the political campaign by the incumbent BJP govt. It came as a surprise for me to see that a govt, ruling the state for five years, had almost nothing to showcase. 

A prominent BJP advertisement, published in local newspapers, had five key advertising points. Out of those five, only one was an accomplishment of the state govt. The rest were just matters ‘principally approved’ by the Central govt. Even the ruling party’s manifesto was surprising. The first promise was to implement a common civil code in the State. To me, it felt like the incumbent government was challenging the political wisdom and foresight of the people of Himachal Pradesh.

My Himachal experience also gave me an opportunity to revisit four years of Congress govt in Chhattisgarh which is starkly contrasting to Himachal Pradesh. When we formed the government on 17th December 2018, we knew that the massive mandate given by the people was for a change in governance and policies of the state. I can admit honestly, today, that it was a mammoth task. Expectations were high and there were many challenges.

PRIMARY CONCERN

The farmers are the biggest community of the state, and they are the most vulnerable in terms of the effect from various governance measures. Our main challenge was to bring them out of the vicious cycle of debt and to provide them with some things, which can make agriculture a profitable endeavour. With this goal in mind, we began our journey with a loan waiver of around 9,000 crore rupees for 19 lakh farmers. Purchasing paddy at 2500 per quintal was another milestone. 

We introduced ‘Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna’ and started giving input subsidies to paddy, sugarcane, and maize farmers. Since its inception, we have provided 16,401 crore rupees of input subsidy to more than 26 lakh beneficiary farmers

The Central govt, which promised to double the farmers’ income by 2022 was against our policy of giving more money to farmers. We were threatened by the Central govt with withholding purchases for the central pool if we continued this policy of paying farmers more than the MSP. Their goal was to render us option less, but we wanted to keep the promises we made to the farmers.

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna
Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna

We introduced ‘Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojna’ and started giving input subsidies to paddy, sugarcane, and maize farmers. Since its inception, we have provided 16,401 crore rupees of input subsidy to more than 26 lakh beneficiary farmers. The scheme now has been elaborated to many other crops like pulses, oil seeds and others. It gave me immense satisfaction to see that Chhattisgarh is paying the highest for paddy in the country. During the 15 years of BJP in Chhattisgarh, farmers were pushed to commit suicide. Today, in the week of completing 4 years of Congress rule, the farmers are the happiest lot.

BETTERMENT OF GENERATION

Chhattisgarh is blessed with 44 pc of forest cover and 32 pc of the state is the tribal population. The commonplace story of Chhattisgarh has been the horror story of Maoist violence, especially in the Bastar region. That was our primary concern. The forests and tribal populace suffered because of these factors. With our new pro-people policies, we have changed the scenario and today’s Bastar is far more peaceful. Violent incidents have gone down significantly and there are more employment opportunities for the tribals. Primary of which was the decision to purchase 65 minor forest products under MSP, up from the 7 earlier. 

For the betterment of the generations to come, we turned our attention to education. It has been our focus since we came into power. We re-opened many schools in the tribal regions of the state which were shut because of the Maoist violence

For a collection of the Tendu leaf, remuneration per bag has been increased from 2500 to 4000 rupees. Our Malaria drive has reduced the number of cases drastically. The problems that plagued the last mile are being addressed head-on.

For the betterment of the generations to come, we turned our attention to education. It has been our focus since we came into power. We re-opened many schools in the tribal regions of the state which were shut because of the Maoist violence. Reopening schools was a start. The goal of free, fair, and equitable education opportunities is being achieved through the ‘Swami Atmanand English Medium School Scheme’. We started opening schools in every block, and its success has led to 247 English Medium Schools, 32 Hindi Medium Schools and a proposed total of 422 schools from the next academic session in the state through the scheme.

To restore the autonomy and agency of our villages, revalue their assets and produce and complete utilisation of natural resources ‘Narwa Garwa Ghuruwa Bari’ was introduced. It has since been the primary theme of our government. With schemes like ‘Godhan Nyay Yojna’ and Rural Industrial Park Scheme (RIPA), we are making visible changes in the rural economy. These measures are bringing a silent revolution to empower the people in the state.

Mahatma Gandhi ji had the vision to empower the villages and to make decisions that benefit the last person in the line. We are committed to reaching the last mile and making people happy. We are reaching the tribals, farmers, children and rural residents and I wish to see a more prosperous Chhattisgarh in the coming years.

Bhupesh Baghel

Bhupesh Baghel is an Indian politician serving as the third and current Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh. He was president of the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress. He has been a member of the legislative assembly five times from Patan. He had been a cabinet minister in undivided Madhya Pradesh in the late nineties. He was the first Minister for Revenue, Public Health Engineering and Relief Work in Chhattisgarh

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