With Yogi Adityanath at the helm, Uttar Pradesh has straightened out administrative, health and law and order issues.
Here’s how the state is drawing up a distinct road map for the future.
It has been more than two years since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won Uttar Pradesh with a thumping majority and Yogi Adityanath assumed office of Chief Minister. BJP’s decision to appoint Adityanath, a monk, as the Chief Minister of India’s largest state drove a very pertinent social message — donning a saffron robe had nothing to do with one’s capability to discharge constitutional responsibilities, and take progressive decisions for the larger good of the people. Adityanath’s identity as a yogi soon overshadowed the discourse and those pseudo-secularists, who were distressed by the fact that their agenda to appease under the garb of secularism was set to be shattered, were expectedly piqued.
However, I did not expect these agents of propaganda to be peeved even after two years of governance marked with sustained development, better law and order, evident progress and a distinct roadmap for a better future. One such journalist, who himself hails from Uttar Pradesh, in an opinion piece, called Adityanath India’s worst Chief Minister based on his blog activity. Since the author did not use any data points to compare Adityanath’s performance with other chief ministers, it is unfortunate that the poorly researched piece was endorsed by a platform that is run by a senior media professional, who is often seen using data to support his arguments. Clearly, data journalism is too much to expect from those who write 800 words just to pay their coffee bills.
In July 2018, Adityanath committed funds, special schemes and installed a monitoring mechanism to take control of the eight backward districts in the state, namely Balrampur, Shravasti, Bahraich, Siddharthnagar, Chandauli, Sobhadra, Fatehpur and Chitrakoot. The police chief of the state was asked to break the nexus of contract monopoly, apart from focussing on the entire state as an opportunity for investment, as opposed to the National Capital Region.
As per the follow-up report released by NITI Aayog in December 2018, Sidharthnagar ranked as one of the top three districts in the aspirational districts category. The other two districts included Kupwara (Jammu and Kashmir) and Jamui (Bihar). (These districts showed great initiative and displayed a qualitative jump in their scores between June and October 2018).
Ease Of Doing Business
With an overall score of 92.89 per cent, Uttar Pradesh featured in the list of achievers (90-95 per cent) in the Business Reforms Action Plan 2017-18 conducted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade. In 2016-17, Uttar Pradesh scored 85.52 per cent.
Initiatives like self-inspection by industries (subject to inspection by a random sample), along with increase in overtime limits for factories and commercial establishments, have been helpful in improving the business climate in the state.
- Nivesh Mitra, the single window system provides online end-to-end 70 services across 20 departments in Uttar Pradesh. It was launched on 21 February 2018. As on 19 February 2019, more than 29,000 applications had been received of which more than 22,000 have been granted approvals (NOC issued).
Tax Revenue Receipts
Total revenue receipts of Uttar Pradesh were Rs 256,875 crore in 2016-17 which grew to Rs 326,428 crore in 2017-18. Revised budgeted revenue receipt for 2018-2019 was Rs 439,525, which increased by 7.1 per cent to Rs 470,684 crore in 2019-2020 budget.
The 2019-20 revenue surplus is budgeted at 1.76 per cent, which is higher than that realised in 2017-18, that is 0.91 per cent. Moreover, fiscal deficit is expected to be in line with the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, and be under 3 per cent of state gross domestic product.
For a state that has been used by politicians as a corridor to power, obviously the vital stats of the state had plunged to abyss. With a committed leadership that believes the only way to sustain growth in the state is through development of human resources, the Adityanath government has taken multiple steps to pull up social indicators.
- As per the NITI Aayog’s health index report, Uttar Pradesh was among the top three states that showed the maximum gains in improvement of health outcomes from base to reference year in indicators such as NMR, U5MR, full immunisation coverage, institutional deliveries, and people living with HIV (PLHIV) on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
- Medical and public health expenditure: Uttar Pradesh allocated Rs 23,884 crore in 2019-20, an increase of 15 per cent compared to 2018-19 revised budget estimate of Rs 20,735 crore. Around 5.4 per cent of the total expenditure was allocated to health, which is higher than the average expenditure of 5.2 per cent by other states.
Law And Order
Much to the disappointment of motivated forces who wrote chapter and verse on how the deteriorating law and order in Uttar Pradesh will hamper Modi’s chances of re-election, the voters unequivocally endorsed Adityanath’s administration in the recently concluded general elections.
There is little to deny that law and order has been an area of concern in the state for decades. The contract mafia that enjoyed tacit support from politicians along with crime against women and children has repeatedly embarrassed the state. However, right from the day Adityanath took charge, his uncompromising approach to eliminate crime and catch the criminals by their neck has been a deterrent.
- After a 22-year-old boy was killed during a ‘tiranga yatra’ at Kasganj, subsequent requests for such processions were denied in western Uttar Pradesh.
- After the increase in reported cases of violence against women in June 2019, Adityanath held a review meeting and put the state machinery to action. It is this promptness and swift action that has ensured the propagandists never succeed in building a false narrative against the administration.
On 24 June 2019, India Police Service officer Ajay Pal Sharma got involved in an encounter with Nazil, who was accused of abducting, raping and subsequently killing a six-year-old girl, and shot him in his legs and eventually arrested him.
In response to the criticism, the Chief Minister has gone on record to say that if the criminals attempt to attack the police, the police will not keep their hands tied. And it is only natural that if someone fires at the police, or at innocent people, they will be responded to in a language that they understand, by the police. He went on to add that the Supreme Court and the Human Rights Commission have laid down norms to be followed, and those have been adhered to in each case.
For a state that has seen leaders defend terrorists (Haji Yaqub Qureshi, ex-minister from Bahujan Samaj Party) and goons like Imran Masood, who once issued threats to the prime minister being appointed as Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president in 2016, Adityanath’s intolerance towards criminals is a welcome step, not to forget his strong push for curbing crime through the Uttar Pradesh Control of Organised Crime Act (UPCOCA) Bill.
It is notable that Adityanath conducted more rallies compared to Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati combined, and Uttar Pradesh’s mandate for BJP is nothing short of a compelling testimony to his two-year tenure.
Some of the initiatives taken by the Adityanath government to assuage farmers and enhance ease of living of Uttar Pradesh include:
- In order to ensure sugarcane farmers receive their dues from private sugar mills, UP government issued recovery certificates to eight mills in Ghaziabad, Bulandshahr, Hapur, Saharanpur, Badaun, Maharajganj, Basti and Baghpat districts. District magistrates can seize the movable and immovable properties of these sugar mills and auction them to recover farmers' arrears.
- The state recorded the highest delivery of LPG cylinders under Ujjwala, toilets under Swachh Bharat and rural homes under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana, largely due to the seamless implementation of these welfare schemes by the Adityanath-led government.
- To put things in perspective, while 5,531,159 connections were issued in 2016-17, 13,129,142 connections were issued between 2017 and 19.
- Only 25 lakh toilets were constructed until March 2017. However, under the two years of Adityanath government, close to 1.46 crore toilets have been constructed.
- First rail park (ancillary unit) of India by the private sector was set up in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh in October 2018. It is expected to attract investments of over Rs 2,300 crore from over 50 companies and generate more than 20,000 jobs
- Until March 2017, just three airports were operational in Uttar Pradesh. In collaboration with UDAN scheme, 11 new airports were added in the first 18 months of the BJP rule.
For those of us who come from the state, we had conceded our future to ailing bureaucracy that was known for its lethargy and indisposed demeanour and the deep-seated nexus that kept the state deprived of its due. With Adityanath at the helm, the state has been able to arrest professional complacency, there is visible activity in the corridors, apart from the conspicuous absence of tobacco stains.