Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the former Madhya Pradesh CM, is also the second longest-serving BJP Chief Minister overtaking BJP’s icon Narendra Modi as Gujarat CM and is currently behind Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. He has been BJPs marquee face in the state of Madhya Pradesh since becoming the Chief Minister of MP midway through the Assembly in 2005.
Jyotiraditya Scindia quits Congress; how does this affect Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh was tagged as Bimaru state, the state’s economy and infrastructure were crippling before Shivraj Singh Chouhan came to the scene. Madhya Pradesh has become one of the fastest developing states in the country under the BJP government, although, the state is still among some of the poorest states in the country.
A few decades ago, Madhya Pradesh was on ventilator gasping for breath, but in the 13 years of Shivraj Singh’s rule, the state started moving on a steady path of recovery.
BJP has been in power in the state from 2003 to 2018 until the Congress government came to power in 2018, and up until the last state assembly election, the state has not faced any anti-incumbency wave, that speaks volume of Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s performance as the Chief Minister of the state.
The Congress then made Kamal Nath the new incumbent CM of the state. The party stands in the epicentre of an internal crisis as young cadres are increasingly finding it difficult to find leadership positions due to the Gandhi dynamics in running the party and also due to the over importance that the party gives to its older cadres.
News has hit the stands that Jyotoraditya Scindia has quit Congress and is joining the BJP. His leaving has also created a ripple effect among his loyalists, and a batch of 22 MLAs have altogether quit the Congress. Speculations are now ripe that the Kamal Nath government will topple and BJP may form government again in Madhya Pradesh. If this is true, it may result in Shivraj Singh coming back to power.
But plots are galore in Madhya Pradesh now and, Congress and BJP are set to go head-to-head against each other again. Shivraj Singh Chouhan may be looking at a fourth term as CM of Madhya Pradesh.
The thirteen years of Shivraj Singh’s rule has put Madhya Pradesh on the developmental map of the country. The period saw many reforms; some had a positive impact, while some had negative.
Here are some reasons why the people of Madhya Pradesh may be missing the erstwhile CM of the state:
The Positives of Shivraj Singh’s rule in Madhya Pradesh
Improved and Uninterrupted Power Supply
Madhya Pradesh is fast emerging as a state with the 24×7 power supply to all electricity consumers in the state. The Chief Minister had pledged to complete electrification of all the villages within the state by October 2, 2018, before the state government completes its term. The state will be providing minimum eight-hours of uninterrupted electricity for agriculture works.
Fast emerging as a leading tourist hub in India
Madhya Pradesh has been blessed with beautiful natural landscapes and is ingrained with a rich and diverse cultural history. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has emphasised on the immense possibilities in the tourism sector in the state and has worked towards developing the industry, that in turn has created employment, strengthened state’s economy and increased the influx of tourists. In 2017, Madhya Pradesh Tourism was established to promote the state’s tourism with the help of sustainable private partnership, public investment, facilitation of investors, skill-development, publicity and marketing of tourist destination within India and around the world.
Madhya Pradesh Public Services Delivery Guarantee Act
This historic Act was passed in 2010 and was the first-of-its-kind public service act in the country. Madhya Pradesh Public Services Delivery Guarantee Act, 2010, aimed at delivering public services like issuing caste, birth, marriage and domicile certificates, drinking water connections, ration cards, copies of land records to the citizens of Madhya Pradesh within a stipulated period.
The Act has served as a reflection of the Chief Minister’s commitment to achieving good governance. The Act has accountability mechanisms, wherein if the official fails to adhere to his duty and is unable to provide the services within the stipulated time frame, officials have to pay a hefty fine ranging from Rs.250 per day to a maximum penalty of Rs.5,000. On the other hand, the Appellate Officer may have to pay a fine of Rs.500 per day to a maximum of Rs.5,000, while compensation is provided to the affected citizen.
Ladli Laxmi Yojana
This scheme was one of the initial policies implemented by former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan in April 2007, to lay down a strong foundation for the future of girls in the state by improving the educational and economic status. The scheme also aimed at bringing a positive change in the attitude of the society pertaining to the birth of a girl child.
The state government purchased National Savings Certificate worth Rs. 6,000 for every girl annually after she is born till the time the amount reaches thirty thousand. Every girl covered in the scheme will reap benefits such as Rs.2,000 at the time of their admission in the class sixth, Rs.4,000 once the girl reaches 9th class, and Rs 7,500 at time of entry in the eleventh class.
Apart from these periodic cash rewards, the girl student is given Rs.200 per month while she is studying in class 11th and 12th. She will be given a one-time of one lakh rupees at the time she turns 21 but has not been married before the age of 18. The benefits of the scheme have been extended to parents with family planning, have been registered at the nearest Anganwadi centres, and do not come under the income tax slab. Till now, the scheme has benefitted lakhs of girl-children within the state and helped them to pursue their education and fulfil their dreams.
Mukhya Mantri Yuva Swarozgar Yojna Scheme for Madhya Pradesh
The scheme was launched during the second term of Shivraj Singh Chouhan in April 2013 to help the youth of the state to establish businesses with the financial loan provided by the banks at a minimal rate of interest. The main objective of the schemes have been:
Promoting entrepreneurship amongst the youth in Madhya Pradesh with loans without any collateral security.
The Nodal Office of Department of Commerce, Industries and Employment is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the scheme
- The cap on loans available for project cost:
- Ultra Small Project: Cost up to Rs.50,000
- Small Project: Cost from Rs.50,000 to Rs.25 lac
- Panchayat and Rural Development Department for Rural Areas and Department of Commerce, Industries and Employment for Urban Areas are the agencies responsible for implementation.
- The loanee is given a time of 84 months, excluding the moratorium period for repayment.
- The state government will contribute to 20 per cent of the project cost as margin money or will pay a one-time amount of Rs.10,000 for a project worth Rs.50,000.
- The rate of interest to be levied on the loan amount of up to Rs.10 lac is BR+0.50%, while for a loan above Rs.10 lac and up to Rs.25 lac the rate of interest is BR+1.00%.
For a project of Rs. 50,000, the guarantee fee levied is 1% of the loan amount for the first year and 0.50% for the next four years, or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier shall be reimbursed by the state government. The bank will bear the rest 0.50% for four years or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier.
For a project above Rs. 50,000 and up to Rs.25 lac, the guarantee fee levied is 1% of the loan amount for the first year and 0.75% for the next four years, or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier shall be reimbursed by the state government. The bank will bear the rest 0.25% for four years or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier.
What Madhya Pradesh still needs to work on
Poor Per-capita income
The state of Madhya Pradesh has one of the lowest per capita income compared to the other states of the country. Although in recent years, the state’s per capita has been increasing, it is still nearly 37% behind the national average. When Shivraj Singh Chouhan became the CM in 2005, the state’s per capita income was abysmally low at Rs. 15,927. The per capita increased to Rs. 55,442 for FY 17-18. Despite the former CM’s effort to bring the state’s per capita income at par with the national average, that hasn’t been the case. Moreover, there is a stark contrast between urban households per capita income and the per capita income of rural households.
The farmers in the state have faced several challenges in the last few years. Ther have been rampant agitations by the farmers on many occasions. One such example is during the BJP government; the farmers agitated against the degrading prices of onion in the market that led to distress among the farmers. This incident was in stark contrast to the state’s agricultural sector’s performance in 2014-15, where the state registered a 20% growth in the agricultural output. Nearly one-tenth of the suicides committed in the 15 years of BJP rule has taken place between the year 2016-17.
Women safety and crime has plagued the image of the state, as Madhya Pradesh has earned a dubious distinction of being at the top of the charts in terms of heinous crimes and crimes against women.
According to a report by the National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) report, the state has the highest rate of atrocities committed against the tribal population of the state, with the number of crimes against ST increasing from 1,577 in 2014 to 1,823 in 2016. On the other hand, there has been a growing number of cases reported for the crimes committed against women in the state. Madhya Pradesh has been on the top of the list in terms of crimes committed against women, with more than 4,000 cases registered in the year 2016. The state and its police force have time and again failed to protect its citizens. The state’s record is so poor that one woman is raped in the state every two hours.
Infant Mortality Rate
Madhya Pradesh is the bottom-most state in terms of infant mortality rate (IMR), although, the state’s infant mortality has been on an upward trajectory since the last two decades. Ever since Shivraj Singh Chouhan took charge of the CM office, the state has been on a steady rise in terms of infant mortality rate.
But, with a state that is among the fastest developing states in the country, the present figures of infant mortality show a different ground reality. At the beginning of the new millennia, Madhya Pradesh’s infant mortality rate was 88 per thousand live births. Despite the initiative taken by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the state’s IMR currently stands 47 per thousand live births; it is the worst IMR compared to the beleaguered states of Odisha and Assam, the former and the latter are tied at the bottom with an IMR of 44 per thousand live births.
Low Female Literacy Rate
In 2005-06, Madhya Pradesh had one of the lowest female literacy, with only 44.4 per cent of the total female population of the state were literate. During Shivraj Singh’s tenure, things have improved a bit, but the state still is amongst the bottom state in terms of female literacy rate. In 2015-16, the state’s female literacy rate was 59.4 per cent an increase of nearly 15 per cent compared to the levels of 2005-06. Contrary to the state’s female literacy rate, the national average grew by 13 per cent, in 2005-06 India’s female literacy rate was 55.1 per cent and in 2015-16, the percentage increased to 68.4 per cent.
Will Kamal Nath remain CM?
Madhya Pradesh was a Congress fortress before the Hindutva wave of BJP captured the state with a landslide victory in 2003 State Legislative Assembly elections. The BJP victory ended a decade-old Congress rule under former Madhya Pradesh CM Digvijay Singh. The two assembly elections in the state that brought Shivraj Singh Chouhan to power have been a show of strength for him as the former Member of Parliament has grown in stature as the leader of the state. But, with Scindia quitting the Congress, Kamal Nath might be able to sustain the government. In that case, the BJP will make a comeback in Madhya Pradesh.