By Arbind Kumar
It is pertinent to discuss the state of overall development in face of political parties again coming into public domain to seek favor in assembly election this year. Madhya Pradesh, a central province, is being ruled successively third time by saffron party. Party high office bearer says, Shiv government got the state form BIMARU to developing one and further emphatically adds party will come fourth time in power. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan also claims to have worked hard for the betterment of all sections of society.
But roving in the state speaks up the story of backwardness all around. Claim falls flat when analyzed on empirical ground. Poor health scenario exposed with the state gaining bad tag of the most malnourished one, poor state of education at elementary and higher level; especially in medical education damned the name of the state. Unplanned water management affects agriculture and drinking water scarcity looms large in many districts of the state. It is tragic that the number of farmers, taking suicidal step, is increasing. Unbelievably, farmers kept agitating in present tenure of the BJP reign. Polices announced did not gain ground. Farmer’s unrest in Malwa, Mahakaushal, Vindhya and other areas made it clear people’s aspirations are not met properly and farmers are still in financial strain. They are trapped in vicious circle of loan from banks and private lenders. Thus the story of miserable farmer depicted in Godan almost a century ago by the great novelist Premchand, has not changed today in the state. Heavy fluctuation in prices of agricultural produces, especially at the time of season change, affect both producer and consumer. It seems brokers have captured the market despite GST and real benefit to public is null and void. In this situation the concept of national market still seems distant reality.
It is more heartening to see a short-cut rout has been chosen in the budget to achieve political gain despite miserable state of economy.
Onion politics- High mismanagement were seen when onion’s price went down previous year and state witnessed violent farmer’s agitation. At that time government did not manage agriculture produce purchase in planned manner and a high drama was orchestrated in which CM himself sat on fast as if he were in opposition. It is sad that government did not make proper system of agriculture produce purchase, storage, marketing, even when agriculturally dominant state urgently demands. Poor state affair management became evident when two arms of the government fought over an issue of payment of onion storage. Madhya Pradesh co-operative had purchased onion and stored them in the stores of Ware Housing Corporation. Over the time, both departments forgot to release the onion in the free market and all stored onion rotten down. Thereafter Ware Housing co-operation demanded 25 crore rupees as storage charge. Co-operative said, ‘stored onions have rotten down so what is the matter of paying charge. Had they returned the onion, we would had paid the charge.’
Will new scheme save farmer? – In Bhavantar Yojana, farmers are still in doldrums, if it is in their favor or would lead them other way. State government announced this is the best policy in crop purchase in the country. However, many farmers fear and stick to wait watch policy. Neither clarity nor its benefits have been propagated among target groups.
Poor economy- Shivraj government presented Rs.2 lakh crore budget for financial year 2018-19. Whole exercise in budget is primarily focused on election and a clear-cut equation has been set to win maximum constituencies in assembly election. However budget analysis shows up grim picture of the economy. Behind the budget reality is it that government’s 82 percent profit will be used in salary, pensions and interest. If central government does not support financially, state government will have to face ordeal in managing funds in meeting its own announced schemes.
Vote management- Shiv government targets in budget farmer, dalit, youth, tribal and women. BJP considers wooing these segments might make a way out to win assembly election. It is to note in sequence of nationalized banks getting struck by willful big defaulters, Shiv sarkar did not give proper heed to these news and decided to compensate defaulter farmers in the state. Policies must be framed so as economy does not feel the heat.
Religious journey with political effect- CM Shivraj carried out Narmada yatra for the welfare of the state, though critic said that it was political yatra focusing on 116 assembly seats around the pious river in the state. River Narmada is one of the most sacred rivers in the country. Since BJP lost by-elections in Ater, Chitrakoot, Mungawali and Kolarash assembly seats and this waves up concern in the BJP rank and file. Result made it clear young congress leader Mr. Jyodiraditya Sindhia is invincible as BJP did not succeed in making a way in by-election even 19 ministers canvassed in the favor of its candidates. Perceiving visibly changed mood of voters, many big leaders of BJP are crossing over to the congress, is also a matter of concern for the saffron party. Mr. Sindhia is being seen as vibrant leader and workers of congress are demanding he be declared as the party CM candidate in coming state assembly election.
Litterateur Mr. Rajendra Dani wryly questions the claim of the development in the state. He asks, ‘where is smart city in the MP? Where is cleanness drive?’ He speaks up openly, ‘farmers are in miserable situation, prices of goods are skyrocketing, petrol at petrol pump costs almost 78 rupees per liter against around 50 rupees/liter in previous government.’ He further adds, ‘neither state nor centre is concerned to the price rise of the petroleum product. They only know how to slap tax after tax. Already heavily taxed petroleum is taxed again in the state on the name of developing infrastructure. Petroleum product price affects overall market.’
Mr. Dani said, ‘people voted on the promise of making this state a developed one. But after being so many years in office, BJP did not do any remarkable achievement. The big issue is common man confidence on the system is losing.’