Modi style of ‘Pragati’ divides politicos

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Bhubaneswar: Prime minister Narendra Modi’s plan to directly interact with the State chief secretaries to review the implementation of various Central projects on a monthly basis under ‘Proactive Governance and Timely Implementation’ (Pragati) programme, has drawn contrasting opinions from political leaders in Odisha over its appropriateness.

Under the Pragati initiative which will be kick-started from March 25, Modi is scheduled to interact with the chief secretaries all the States on the fourth Wednesday of every month through video-conferencing to take stock of the Centrally-funded projects being implemented in various States.

Ruling BJD spokesperson Samir Ranjan Dash welcomed the move saying it will help in implementation of various projects in the State. He is of the view that there was nothing wrong in the PM interacting with chief secretaries to accelerate growth. However, it should not be politicised at any level, he warned.

On the other hand, senior BJD leader and Excise and Cooperation minister Damodar Rout said an elected prime minister should not sidestep the elected chief ministers. Such a step will only create confusion in the administrative process which will eventually scuttle progress, he added.

Such a step cannot be considered beneficial from the constitutional point of view, he opined, adding, “Progress can only be achieved only when there is a cordial atmosphere between the state and the Centre. But, the move will lead to conflicts in administration and ultimately progress will be affected.”

“I don’t like the idea of a prime minister engaging in discussion regarding implementation of various Central programmes at the State secretary level,” said leader of Opposition Narsingh Mishra. Instead of interacting with chief secretaries, the prime minister should rather follow the protocol and talk to the chief ministers and the ministers of concerned departments as per democratic traditions, he opined.

The Congress leader said it would be against the principles and ethos of federalism. “This move can be viewed in two ways. First, it is interference in the administration of the State government, which is unconstitutional. However, if the intention is honest, it can help accelerate growth,” he explained.

On its part, the BJP supported the step saying it will address bottlenecks in implementation of various projects. Party’s State president K.V. Singhdeo welcomed the move saying it will help in implementation of the Central projects.

“The prime minister will check the implementation of various projects and address bottlenecks. He will also look after the utilisation of Central funds sanctioned to the State. It will also help in redressal of the States’ grievances. This is a welcoming step,” said Singhdeo.

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