Shivraj Singh Chouhan the incumbent Madhya Pradesh CM, recently became 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. Madhya Pradesh was tagged as Bimaru state, the state’s economy and infrastructure were crippling before Shivraj Singh Chouhan came on to the scene. Madhya Pradesh has become one of the fastest developing states in the country, although, the state is still among some of the poorest states in the country. Over the last 15 years, there has been a significant improvement in the development of Madhya Pradesh.
A few decades ago, Madhya Pradesh was on ventilator gasping for breath, but in the 13 years of Shivraj Singh’s rule, the state is now on a steady path of recovery and has been taken off the life support. BJP has been in power in the state since 2003, and up until the last state assembly election has not faced any anti-incumbency wave, that speaks volume of Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s performance as the Chief Minister of the state. Shivraj Singh is set to complete his third-term as the CM once the Assembly is dissolved and the state heads into the elections by the end of 2018. Although, it has not been official it is highly likely that he will be the face for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.
The year 2018 is crucial for the politics of India, as the bye-elections and State Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Mizoram can have implications on the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Congress and BJP are set to go head-to-head against each other and get involved in the political slugfest in these states in the run-up to the elections. Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be looking to get elected to the CM office for the fourth consecutive time and will be leading BJP’s charge in the central state of India.
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 the positive impact while some had negative. Here are some of the highs and lows of Madhya Pradesh’s CM:
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 has 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 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 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. The state is reviewing the possibilities of giving access to tourists to enter buffer zones in the state’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Madhya Pradesh Public Services Delivery Guarantee Act
This historic act was passed in 2010 and was 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 time period. The Act has served as a reflection of 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 fine of Rs.5000. On the other hand, the Appellate Officer may have to pay a fine of Rs.500 per day to a maximum of Rs.5000, while compensation is provided to the grieved citizen.
Ladli Laxmi Yojana
This scheme was one of the initial policies implemented by 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. 6000 for every girl annually after she is born till the time amount reaches thirty thousand. Every girl covered in the scheme will reap benefits such as Rs.2000 at the time of their admission in the class sixth, Rs.4000 once the girl reaches class 9th, and Rs 7500 at time of admission in class eleventh. 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 child 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 the 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.50000
Small Project: Cost from Rs.50000 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 period of 84 months excluding the moratorium period for repayment.
- The state government will contribute to 20 percent of the project cost as a Margin money or will pay one-time amount of Rs.10000 fora project worth Rs.50000.
- 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. 50000, the guarantee fee levied is 1% of the loan amount for the first year and 0.50% for the next 4 years, or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier shall be reimbursed by the state government. The rest 0.50% will be borne by the bank for 4 years or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier.
For a project above Rs. 50000 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 4 years, or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier shall be reimbursed by the state government. The rest 0.25% will be borne by the bank for 4 years or up to the closure of account whichever is earlier.
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 but is it 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, at present the per capita has increased to Rs. 55,442 for FY 17-18. Despite CM’s effort to bring the state’s per capita income at par with the national average, but that hasn’t been the case as the remains backwards in terms of its per capita income. Moreover, the there is a stark contrast between urban households per capita income and the per capita income of the rural households.
The farmers in the state have faced several challenges in the last few years. Last year, 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 have taken place between 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 National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) report released last year, the state has the highest rate of atrocities committed against the tribal population of the state, with the number of crimes against ST increased from 1577 in 2014 to 1823 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 4000 cases registered in the year 2016. Despite the efforts of CM to curb the growing crime rate, the state and its police force have time and again failed to protect its citizen. State’s record is so poor that one woman is raped in the state within 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 new millennia, Madhya Pradesh’s infant mortality rate was 88 per thousand live births. Despite the initiative taken Madhya Pradesh CM, 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. The central Indian state is among the worst performing states in terms of under-5 mortality rate as well, with an under-5 IMR of 74 deaths per thousand children under the age of five. The state is way below the national average of 50 deaths per thousand under-5 children.
Low Female Literacy Rate
In 2005-06, Madhya Pradesh had one of the lowest female literacy with only 44.4 percent 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 percent an increase of nearly 15 per cent compared to the levels of 2005-06. Contrary to state’s female literacy rate, the national average grew by 13 percent, in 2005-06 India’s female literacy rate was 55.1 percent and in 2015-16 the percentage has increased to 68.4 percent.
Eye on the State Assembly Elections
Shivraj Singh Chouhan is all set to complete his third-term at the Chief Minister’s office, before seeking fresh mandate by the end of 2018. Madhya Pradesh is set to go for polls by the year-end, with Congress and BJP set to go all out against each other. 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 last two assembly elections in the state have been a show a strength for Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the former Member of Parliament has grown in stature as the leader of the state. But, with Congress slowly and steadily regaining momentum before the crucial Lok Sabha elections for the party in 2019. The party will be looking to recapture its old bastion, as a victory for the party will serve as boost to party’s confidence just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While BJP, who were dealt a blow in Karnataka after the party failed to form the government despite emerging as the single largest party will look to retain the state that helped the party to win a comfortable majority in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. A victory in Madhya Pradesh Assembly election will keep the part optimistic of repeating the performance its previous General Assembly elections in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.