Raipur: Barely a year after coming to power, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s Congress
government in Chhattisgarh has achieved a series of firsts in governance, particularly for its core focus groups of farmers and tribals.
Baghel steered the Congress to victory in 2018 and became the state’s chief minister after the party won with a two-thirds majority, defeating the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Baghel, who was also the state party president, helped the Congress win 68 out of 90 seats in the state assembly and dislodged the BJP from power after it had ruled the state for 15 years.
The Baghel government hit the ground running, and has since coming to power systematically worked on issues of governance to improve the lives of people in the state. Be it education, welfare, healthcare, tribals, the government has kept all in mind and worked towards ensuring a better livelihood for Chhattisgarh’s residents.
It has managed to get its farmers the highest price for paddy, education has been made free until class 12 in all government schools, schemes to fight malnutrition have been implemented, schools which had been shut for decades in Maoist areas have been reopened and a new industrial policy announced.
Tribals in the state
The Bhupesh Baghel government has taken a number of measures and welfare steps to ensure the well-being of the tribal population, which makes up more than 30 per cent of the state’s population.
The government has returned to their owners the 4,400 acres of tribal land acquired for a
proposed steel plant in Bastar. For the procurement of tendupatta (tobacco leaves), it pays the highest price of Rs 4,000 per sack to tribals.
Schools in the Maoist areas of the state, which had been shut for decades, have been reopened. Criminal cases registered against tribals are being reviewed. And to ensure better healthcare delivery to tribals who live in remote areas of the state, the government has organised weekly Haat Bazaars, which have mobile clinics to provide health services and regular check-ups.
Industry, farmers & education
A large part of Baghel’s work on governance has focussed on welfare programmes for farmers, education and industrial production.
At Rs 2,500 per quintal, the Chhattisgarh government pays farmers the highest prices for paddy, and it has also increased the procurement limit of small forest produce from seven to 22 and further waived agriculture loans worth Rs 6,000 crore.
On the education front, Baghel’s government was among the first to announce free education up to class 12 in all government schools under the Right to Education Act. Chhattisgarh has also announced a new Industrial Policy (2019-24) to fight the nationwide recession and promote investment in backward areas.
Health and welfare
To promote welfare programmes in the state, the Baghel government has amended the District Mineral Fund (DMF) rules to make the governing council more inclusive and power centric.
The state has also planned dozens of food parks in rural areas of the state to generate
employment. It has also come up with a new law to provide protection to journalists covering sensitive beats.
On the health front, Chhattisgarh is the first state to provide financial assistance of up to Rs 20 lakh for treatment under the Chief Minister’s Special Health Assistance Scheme. The state provides free health services to its people under the Universal Health Scheme and has also implemented a scheme to fight malnutrition.