Column: Keen On Good Governance

By Ashutosh Mishra

Bhubaneswar: Chief minister, Naveen Patnaik seems keen to ensure that his 5T formula of governance is followed both by civil as well as the police administration. Ahead of the launch of his government’s Mo Sarkar initiative, which is one of the steps towards making 5T effective, he has urged police officials to be more pro-people. What is significant is that he is himself going to follow it up by making telephone calls to ten persons who approach the police with complaints everyday.

This hands-on approach to administration is bound to yield results. It is going to keep both ‘babus’ and the men in uniform on their toes as they will be under constant scrutiny. While the level of their performance is certain to go up regular monitoring is also likely to keep corruption under check. They will be working under a pro-active chief minister perhaps for the first time.

The best thing about Patnaik in his fifth coming as the chief minister of the state is his emphasis on performance and his pro-people approach to governance. He has sought performance reports from not only his ministers but also his MLAs. He is going to assess them on the basis of their work.

This approach has two distinct advantages. While it helps him keep tabs on his men it sends out a strong message to the people that man at the top actually cares for them. While accountancy of bureaucrats is a matter of routine politicians had hardly ever been accountable in the past in the true sense of the term.

For MLAs getting elected was the most important part. Once they got their certificates from the returning officers they forgot all about the people who had chosen them as their representative. Their focus immediately turned to the perks and privileges of being an MLA or MP. Many went overboard trying to exercise their assumed powers as public representatives.

Take for example the recent case of Saroj Meher, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MLA from Patnagarh who made a junior engineer do sit-ups in public as punishment for alleged sub-standard road work in his constituency. A first time MLA he thought he could do anything without bothering about rules and regulations.

He was brought to the ground with a thud when the wife of the engineer concerned lodged a police case against him and members of Bolangir junior engineers’ association launched an agitation demanding action against him. Finally he was arrested and sent to jail.

The Meher episode must be in chief minister, Naveen Patnaik’s mind when he urged his party MLAs to be unassuming and try to understand people’s problems instead of being ostentatious and flashy. Patnaik reiterated this advice recently while addressing legislators of different parties during an orientation programme.

Opposition leaders have derided his 5T formula and initiatives like Mo Sarkar describing them as political stunts enacted to impress gullible people who are easily swayed by such tactics. But in my opinion it is wrong to under-estimate people. We must have faith in their maturity.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)