The Gehlot Government will step into its second year in office armed with a number of new policies and programmes. Rajasthan will soon return to “mission mode” with the Council of Ministers having decided, on the concluding day of its two-day “chintan shivir” (introspection camp) here this week, to appoint as many as five Rajiv Gandhi missions covering core areas such as health and population, education, social security, agriculture, animal husbandry and water conservation.
“We are back in mission mode. We will take expert opinion as well as help of outside consultants for planning and implementation of the missions,” said Mr. Gehlot at the end of marathon consultations held among the ministers and top bureaucrats. The previous Gehlot regime also had gone in for several similar missions which were discontinued by the BJP-led Vasundhara Raje Government that succeeded it.
“We took stock of the tasks accomplished so far,” said Mr. Gehlot at the end of the latest introspection camp, accompanied by his ministers.
“I did a review of my performance!” he quipped when media persons asked whether the performance of individual ministers was assessed.
Talking about tardy progress in some areas, the Chief Minister said elections, including those for the Lok Sabha and the civic bodies recently, had held up decision-making as well as government activities. “We have written to the Government of India in this regard. There should be permission at least to implement the decisions taken prior to the election code of conduct coming into existence,” he observed.
The flurry of announcements made on the occasion included re-organisation of the State Planning Board, formulation of the State’s first agriculture policy, separate master plan for individual villages, new township policy, new industrial and investment policy and decision to establish a college each in all the remaining 17 tehsils under public-private participation mode.
There will be a new policy now for acquisition of agricultural land while the inhabitants of all gram panchayats will be granted resident pattas for their land. “The master plans in the villages will help future planning as well as stop encroachments of public land as well those of individuals,” Mr. Gehlot said. The Government will also set up a task force for strengthening the public distribution system.
Considering the limited availability of water in Rajasthan, the Government is planning to promote water conservation methods in irrigation by providing incentives such as priority in agricultural connection in the case of drip irrigation.
Asserting that his government was committed to keeping corruption out of the prestigious job scheme, NREGS, the Chief Minister said social audits were mandatory and the Government would go ahead with them. “Be it the NGOs or the government agencies, the audits will have to take place. Yet it is my feeling that what would be still better is to plug the loopholes in the system so that corruption does not take place,” he said.
Mr. Gehlot announced establishment of six new power plants in the State with a total capacity of 4,780 MW for the 12th Five Year Plan period. “Soon after coming to power we undertook projects of a total capacity of 4,440 MW generation. Unlike the previous BJP government which could not add a single MW capacity in generation during its five years, we have set the target two years ahead for the next Plan,” he asserted.