Development, but no compromise on core Hindutva values: Yogi government's 100-days report card
An aggressive development agenda with big plans for industry and investment but no compromise with its core values – this is how one can sum up the 100 days.
The CM promised them that existing anti-cow slaughter and anti-conversion laws in the state will be strengthened, ‘reforms’ will be brought to education and no new slaughter houses would be allowed to open.
Same day, in Ayodhya, two trucks filled with 130 tonnes of stones from Rajasthan arrived at VHP’s temple workshop, Karsevakpuram. Since the last consignment arrived last September here, the Akhilesh Yadav government had refused to give clearance to further supplies. But Yogi, who has offered to mediate between the parties for construction of the Ram Temple, lifted this unofficial stop work order.
An aggressive development agenda with big plans for industry and investment but no compromise with its core values – this is how one can sum up Yogi government’s first 100 days. “It has been a successful 100 days – on all parameters. Given what we inherited, it can be called a dream start,” UP’s power minister and its cabinet spokesperson, Shrikant Sharma, told ET.
The ‘dream start’ however begins with a balance sheet seriously in the red. The Yogi government has to pay Rs 30,000 crore to its massive work-force this year due to 7th Pay Commission.
It has paid nearly Rs 23,000 crore as dues to sugarcane farmers and announced Rs 36,500 crore farm loan waiver – all to be borne in this financial year. UP’s power companies are reeling under a Rs 21,000 crore deficit. The Niti Aayog says out of the 100 worst performing districts in India, 1/5th of them were in UP. “If India has to move forward, UP has to perform,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has told the UP CM.
“We got state finances in disarray but our first budget in July will put UP on path to recovery,” state finance minister Rajesh Agrawal said. “CM wants UP to be financially self-sufficient. Our focus is on increasing revenue. Like, we could have increased electricity tariffs but we are trying to cut down on power theft and line losses. Our new mining policy will bring in big revenue – a sector in which revenue was earlier pocketed by ministers. We are against corruption. Once corruption is down, revenues will increase,” Sharma said.
The CM, in his meeting with Sangh associates, hinted the bureaucracy was still struggling to come to terms with his thinking and pace. The repeated law and order incidents are being blamed by his ministers on an “inherited legacy of the SP government.” Have the criminals all raised their head in last thre months, Sharma asks, and answers his own question. “The opposition has no moral right to speak on crime. In their tenure, criminals were supported. Our intention is clear – to finish crime. The law and order situation is improving day by day.”
A case in point is the new government identifying as many as 1.53 lakh land grabbers – the state has acted against 16,000 of them and freed nearly 5,900 hectares of land from illegal possession. This was a major bane in the former SP government.
Incidents like the murder of traders in Mathura and Sitapur and trouble in Saharanpur have however dominated headlines, SP chief spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary says Yogi government should stop blaming its predecessors and admit its own failure.
“We have cracked most cases. A businessman was saved from being kidnapped in Agra. In Akhilesh government, rapist minister Gayatri Prajapati sat with the then CM in the rear seat and CM claimed he was running the UP-100 service,” Sharma counters.
The big change in the last 100 days has been on the front of electricity and roads. Yogi wanted to make all roads pothole free by June 15 – 63% of the target was achieved, fund crunch hampering the progress.
“It is still a big start,” Sharma says. He claims regular power in UP has become a reality. “I think not as a minister but as a consumer. We are telling people – please pay your bills and don’t take unauthorised power. 20 lakh people in last 100 days shifted to metered connections or upgraded their connections,” he added.
Chaudhary, however, says farmers got 18-hour power in Akhilesh regime and it was not the case at present.
“You announced a loan waiver but banks are still sending notices to farmers. The loan waiver is a joke as a limit of Rs 1 lakh was set. Farmers are angry. All that the new government has done is change names of schemes of our tenure and re-launch them,” said SP’s Chaudhary.
Yogi does have a luxury that Akhilesh didn’t – a supportive centre. Sensing UP’s financial crunch, a massive roads package was granted to UP recently.
UP however faces the reality of taking loans to the tune of Rs 17,000 crore to fulfil its many promises. The big question is: How will Yogi pull UP out of the red?