बुधवार, 3 जून 2015

Report Card 14 years of BJD Govt in Odisha

Report Card of “14 years of BJD Govt. in Odisha”
(Review by civil society at Bhubaneswar on 31st May 2015)

BJD Govt. has already completed one year of its fourth term in Odisha.  In 2014, the people of Odisha demonstrating their unflinching faith for the fourth time in Sri Nabin Patnaik voted to power Biju Janata Dal with an overwhelming majority.   In its election manifesto Biju Janata Dal   had dished out a lot of promises to fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people and especially for bringing economic prosperity in the state.  Within the year just passed, the State Govt. has of course taken several initiatives to implement its manifesto and also launched a number of people oriented programmes.  The activities  of the Govt. in various  fields like  social  security, employment generation, agriculture, health, education, disaster management, governance, RTI and  Human Rights which directly concern the people at grassroots level were required to be  debated and discussed in public domain  to assess  the Government’s  achievements and gaps if any during the past year vis-a-vis the BJD  election manifesto. Needless to say, such debates and discussions would enable the civil society to suggest to the Govt.  what best can be done in days ahead to address to the gaps so noticed. 

Keeping the above concern in view, a Civil Society meeting under the title ‘One year on, fourth term of Nabin-led Government in Odisha’ was organised under the joint aegis of 25 Social Action Groups on 31.5.15 at Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar. A total of 80 participants including representatives of 25 social action groups and activists working in various fields in different districts had participated in the programme.

Though, it was earlier decided to review the one year performance of BJD Govt, however the presentations made by the participants took a dig into   15 years of  BJD Govt. in the state. Sri Rabi Das, senior journalist presided over the first session, while Prof. Jantrana Parikhit coordinated the second session of the day. Sri Pradip Prdhan welcomed the participants and made a brief presentation about the objective of the meeting. A good number activists and subject experts presented their overviews of the issues which have affected the people at large.  The Activists and representatives of Civil society Groups also debated and discussed at length on a host of issues and and highlighted the successes and failures of the Government in delivering the promises. The theme wise presentations made by the Activists/ subject experts are as follows.

Subject  matter
Anil Pradhan
State Convener, State RTE Forum
Education and status of Implementation of Right to Education Act.
Gouranga Mohapatra
State Convener, Jana Swasthya Abhijan
Biswajit Mohanty
Member, Transparency  International
Mining, Forest and Wild Life
Manohar Chouhan
Social Activist
Forest Rights Act
Ashok mallik
President, National  Alliance of Dalit Organisations ( NACDOR), State Chapter
Dalit issue
Debendra Sutar
Social Activist
Shaikh Abdulla
President, Basti Sangh, Cuttack
Slum-Dweller issues
Maoj Jena
President, Human Rights Front
Violation of Human Rights
Pradip Pradhan
State Convener, Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan
RTI, Right to Food, Land scam and Governance
Mira Kinnar
Secretary, Surakhya Kinnar Sangh
Transgender Sex
Sudarshan Chhotaray
Convener, Coast Counil
Disaster  and Migration
Ashok Nanda
Convener, Lok Samukhya
Ranjit Patnaik
Social Activist
Utilisation of External funding to Govt.
Sudhir Mohanty
Advocate, Odisha High Court and Secretary, Odisha Durniti Sangharsh Manch
Corruption and Mal governance
Prafulla Samantaray
President, Lok Shalti Abhijan
Governance, forest and environment
Rabi Das
Senior Journalist
Sripati Singh
Right to City
Bimal Kumar
Social Activist
Information Technology
Khirod Rout
Advocate, Odisha High Court
Issues of Slum Dweller

Major issues highlighted in the meeting.

A.     Governance issues
1.    It is a mystery that the Nabin Patnaik Govt. Has succeeded In  projecting itself as a clean and transparent Govt.  despite its bleak record as evident from    a massive scale of corruption and irregularities afflicting the general and development administration and surfacing of big scams around  Chit Fund , Mining, Land allotment, Dal purchase and loot of NREGA funds. Govt’s failure   to implement RTI Act effectively has also contributed to the deplorable scenario of messy governance in Odisha.  The irony is that despite such scams and scandals, this Govt.  has managed  to strengthen  its  vote   bank  and increase its numbers  in Odisha Legislative Assembly. It has also succeeded in befooling the whole state for last 14 years into believing that it is the star a champion of the poor and downtrodden people.
2.    During the last 14 years of misrule of Nabin Patnaik Govt., the democratic institutions and statutory and constitutional bodies have been steadily undermined and disempowered. Bureaucratisation of the political system  has become the order of the day.  The working of BJD-Govt. revolves round Nabin Patnaik up-manship. Ministers and MLAs are simply bypassed in the decision-making processes around legislative and policy matters. Agenda for the cabinet meetings are not circulated to the Ministers duly before the cabinet meetings are held. The number of days for which the Odisha Legislative Assembly sits is found to be gradually decreasing from year to year.
3.    Over-all academic  standard  and environment  in different  universities   and Colleges  are found deteriorating day by day  due to corruption, irregularities, mal-administration and  bad governance etc.
4.      The State Govt. has itself become a disaster for the people in the state. Man-made calamities are increasing day by day. For example, the fisher-folk have been debarred from fishing for 8 months in a year.
5.    There is arbitrary appointment in all Commissions without any transparent procedure being followed.  Not only transparency is not maintained, but also public consultation is not held prior to appointment to constitutional and statutory bodies. BJD Govt. is aptly described as a Govt. of Commissions and Committees, since no Action Taken Report is submitted by the Government. Farmers Commission, Commission on Regional Imbalances and Pal Commission on constitution of High Court Benches in other regions are glaring instances of the above phenomenon.
6.     Out of 27 RDC-level inquiries, Action has not been taken in 12 cases since last ten years. Information about Status of Crime Branch Enquiry is not available in Public domain. Crime Branch inquiry has been proved as a farce in Ghangapatana land scam and Itishree murder case.
7.    5 rupee meal is designed to divert attention of the people from land scam in urban areas.
8.     Out of 28 Companies which signed MOU with Govt for setting up power plants in Odisha, only 3 Companies have started their operation.  No information about the amount invested or employment generated by the Companies is available in public domain.
9.  No transparency procedure has been followed in the appointment of all the quasi-judicial bodies like State Commission for Women, State Information Commission, Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Odisha Human Rights Commission.
10. National Food Security Act is yet to be implemented in the state.
11.  Vigilance Inquiry into the land scam is designed to prolong the enquiry for endless period in the name of investigation. The Govt. has not been able to recover a single plot of land illegally allotted, nor booked a single man who has grabbed the public land illegally.
12. Potato Mission failed due to non-availability of infrastructure like Cold Storage. Odisha has 111 cold storages  out of which only 24 including 6 run by the Govt are  in a working condition. 
13. Devolution of power to Panchayat is still a far cry. 29 items are  yet to devolve to Panchayats as mandated by the Part-9 of the Constitution. Panchayats have been reduced to the  subservient agents of the lower level Govt. functionaries. Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act has not yet been given a proper trial by the Govt. Gram Sabha  in scheduled areas  is yet to be  empowered  as per the PESA Act.
14.  NREGA has already proved as the biggest man-made disaster in the state. Till date, there is not a single instance whereby a job card holder has got his/her wage payment within 7 days as per the Act. Grievance Redressal mechanism has turned into a visible failure with no ombudsman being in place in any district and directorate of social audit remaining defunct in the state. The NREGA Scheme of the Government has failed to check migration in KBK and tribal districts.
15. Though the State Govt. has promised to take action in accordance with Shah Commission Recommendations in respect of Mining Scams, not a single lease has been cancelled against violation of forest laws.

B.      Laws and Policies
·  The implementation of progressive and people-centred laws like Right to Information Act 2005 , Right to Education Act 2009, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2006, National Food Security Act 2013, Odisha Lokayukta Act 2014, National Disaster Management Act, 2005 Cigarette and Other Tobacco  Product Act, 2003, Clinical Establishment Act,1999 is hardly visible anywhere in the State. State Planning Board is defunct in Odisha since 2009. There is no planning or policy decision in the state. The State Govt. is only floating schemes one after another as per its sweet will without any regard being paid for their implementation, social audit and performance evaluation.
·  Though the State Govt. has enacted Odisha Lokayukta Act, it suffers from a basic loophole, that is, the Vigilance still remains under the grip of the Government. Moreover, though the earlier Odisha Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 1995 has been repealed the new Lokayukta Act 2014 is to be implemented. Odisha has no Lokpal or Lokayukta to enquire into corruption charges levelled against public servants. Ironically as many as 1535 cases which were reportedly pending with the previous Lokpal of Odisha do remain unattended as before.
·   Despite Supreme Court direction, the State Govt. is yet to  set up Third Gender Welfare Board.

C.      Right to Education Act
·  Only 3% of Schools in Odisha are reportedly fully complying with RTE Act.
·  The figures for four districts, Malkanagiri, Nabrangpur, Nuapada and Raygada  show that only less than 1% of schools complywith RTE Act.
·  Single teachers are found in 3440 schools out of   56, 000 Primary schools.
Increase in  numbers of private schools during last 5 years is a worrisome phenomenon [ viz 2009-10( 4328), 2010-11( 4340), 2011-12( 4356), 2012-13-(4482), 2013-14(4724)]
Out of School Children in Odisha- As per Gov. of Odisha data only 6000 but central Government data place it more than 4 lakhs)
Clean Drinking Water: Forget about the conditions, 1714 schools are yet to have any facility for clean drinking water.
Electricity & Computer: 82% (43,386) schools have no electricity facilities. Only 7% schools have computer.

D.     Unemployment
·       Total No. of 10, 95,151 youths have been registered as   unemployed  by 2015.
·        Total no. of 42,222 people have been recruited in different sectors within last 14 years.
·       49 plants have earmarked to generate 65724 employments in the state. But within last 14 years of the BJD Govt., only 3298 Odias have got direct employment and 3864 nos indirect employment.
       E.  Right to Information Act,2005
·       Odisha RTI Rules, 2005 is illegal, absurd ad ultra vires designed to subvert proper implementation of RTI Act.
·       The arrangement for proactive disclosure of elaborate and updated information under section 4 (1)(b) of the RTI Act  has not been put in place in the State as it should be.
·       Disclosures of information and decisions of the Information Commission are to be made in in Odia as required under the parent Act though civil society has been demanding it for last 10 years.

F.    Forest Rights Act
·       While the FRA recognizes the pre- existing individual and community rights over forest land and forest, in last 7 years of FRA implementation, Govt. of Odisha used the Act as Land Distribution Scheme in the State.
·       While Govt. of Odisha is claiming to be the No.1 in distributing highest number of Individual Forest Rights(IFR) titles (3,44.430 by 30th April 2015) in the whole country, the fact is that in maximum cases, IFR titles have been recognized without demarcation of the occupied forest land leading to serious conflicts in the coming days.
·      When up to 10 acres of forest land can be recognized under FRA, the Govt. of Odisha is consistently limiting the average forest land recognized under IFR to 1.58 acres only from last 2009.
·      Over last seven years, Govt. of Odisha has failed to recognize the Community Forest Rights (CFR) in the State which is very important one. Within 7 years of implementation of FRA, the total CFR claims filed in the State  is 6572  and only 1511 CFR titles have been issued over 97,830.91 acres of forest land.
·      While the FRA has made the KL Pluckers owner of the Kendu Leaf, the Govt. of Odisha illegally continue to loot the around 9 lakhs KL Pluckers families in the State by eating around 80% of the profit earned form KL business in the State.

G.   Right to Food
·       During the general election, Biju Janata Dal   in its election manifesto has declared for enactment of separate Food security law in the state. Though one year has passed, the state Govt. is yet to enact any such law in the state. 
·       Insufficient Allocation of funds for MDM and ICDS has resulted in failure to provide nutritious food to the children under Mid-Day-Meal and ICDS programme in the state.
·        Distribution of sugar for the   BPL and Antodaya card holders has been stopped by state Govt.  from June 2013.
·       Emergency Feeding programme under which 2 lakh older persons were provided one hot cooked meal each in Anganwadi centre in KBK region has been stopped.

I. Health issues

·       Clinical Establishment Act, 1999 has not been reformed as per National CEA 2010 along with non-prescription of Ethical Code for private Nursing Home and clinic.
·       Declaration of Distribution of 572 type of free medicine under Niramaya” Yojana  in all PHC and CHC and Govt. hospitals  is found false, as  there is availability of only  158 type of medicine  in Hospitals with no weir house for storage  of medicine  at CHC and PHC level.  
·       108 Ambulance vehicle has not been tagged to many CHCs and PHCs in tribal districts of the state.

G. Other issues
·  Due to lack of employment opportunity, 40 lakh Odias have migrated to other states in pursuit of livelihood.  There is distress migration of 5 lakh people in KBK region every year due to food scarcity.  NREGA has failed to create hope among the migrant workers in the state.
·  Payment of Compensation against crop loss and loss of human lives caused due to wildlife attacks is delayed invariably   due to outdated Rules.
·   Approximately ten lakh tribal and Dalit families in Odisha are still landless. 
·  Odia language is getting outdated day by day in the state with Odia Bhasha Pratisthan remaining defunct.

Prepared by Pradip Pradhan , M-9937843482  for presentation  on Press  Meet held at Lohia Bhawan, Bhubaneswar on 3.6.15 which was addressed by Sri Prafulla Samantaray, Lokashakri Abhijan, Prof. Jantrana parikhit, President, Odisha Nagarik samaj, Sudhir Mohanty, Advocate, Odisha High Court,   Sudarshan Chhotaray, Coast Council, Manohar Chouhan, CSD, Sachikant Pradhan, Social activist, Pratap sahu,  and Menaka Kinnar, Kinnar Surakha Sangh

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