Himansu Shekhar Rout

The Odisha government is planning to create awareness about BSKY--Nabin Card from school to the panchayat level while the certificates being issued to college students under the Nua ‘O programme bear the picture of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The Health Secretary has directed the Collectors of all the districts to carry out an awareness drive at the panchayat level. 

However, the opposition parties have accused the government of utilising public funds for publicity and promotion of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and brand Naveen.

It was alleged that crores of rupees are being spent at the grassroots level in awareness programmes like Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, Nua ‘O, and now BSKY- Nabin Card.   

As the process of applying for the BSKY Nabin Card will start on January 6, awareness drives will be conducted at schools, colleges and the panchayat level. SHGs and social media will be used for awareness drives. For this, each panchayat will be allocated Rs 1 lakh and even more funds may be sanctioned in case of necessity. 

Opposition parties have questioned such ‘brand-promotion’ funding for the new BSKY scheme while applications under the old BSKY have been pending for approval in the state.        

Malkangiri CDMO, Dr Prafulla Kumar Nanda, said that people are told to make online registration for BSKY – Nabin Card from January 6 to 16th while the line departments have been asked to carry out IEC on the scheme.  

Under the Nua ‘O programme, various competitions are reportedly being organised in colleges amid a publicity blitz with posters and banners of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik covering all parts of the college premises. Besides, certificates for the students are embossed with the image of the CM and Rs 3 to Rs 9 lakh is reportedly spent for each programme.

For publicity and promotion of the Srimandir Parikrama project and Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha scheme, the government has allocated Rs 214 crore. 

BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan slammed the government and the ruling BJD, alleging that the people of Odisha know the party has looted crores of rupees from the state coffers through scams. "To cover these scams, the Naveen Patnaik government has been carrying out a publicity blitz to promote the brand Naveen by spending crores of rupees,” he said.
Former Odisha Congress chief, Nirajan Patnaik said that the election expenditures are being borne by the government.

“As elections come closer, the BJD government is launching a host of schemes to attract voters. The revenue of the state has increased by 30 per cent, and this is how the funds are being spent," he added.      

Ruling BJD leader, Prasanna Acharya countered the opposition, saying, "If good works are done, it is natural to do publicity and promotion. People will appreciate good works.”

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