E-way to Transparency
Transparency in administration has been Prithviraj Chavan’s leitmotif since he took over as Chief Minister of Maharashtra in November 2010 in the wake of the Adarsh Housing Society scam. Two of his administration’s schemes stand out. The Tanta Mukti Gaon (dispute-free village) and Ecovillage are examples of good governance and have been acknowledged as such by the United Nations. Under the dispute-free village scheme, disputes are resolved at the local level. The Ecovillage scheme requires gram panchayats to take care of the over three crore saplings planted across the state.
Maharashtra also has the best record of all states in the country on the rollout of the Aadhaar programme. “Aadhaar and IT- based administrative reforms will definitely help us in making our schemes more people-oriented,” says Chavan. Towards this end, the state has launched an e-governance project to facilitate better access to services and to bring in efficiency and transparency in their delivery. Another measure towards transparency is the e-file system.
A task force under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad has listed 12 issues as the state’s top priorities. Attracting investment, developing infrastructure and eradicating malnutrition are among them. A Human Development Index ( HDI) will be brought out every 10 years by the government. Chavan says the state’s policies will revolve around the HDI in future.
The state’s emphasis on primary education has paid rich dividends. Its literacy rate is 83 per cent as against the national average of 74 per cent. The state’s policy to encourage higher education has created impressive infrastructure in the fields of engineering, medicine and management. The Annual Status of Education Report, 2010, by Pratham, an NGO, revealed that the students’ dropout rate has reduced from 15 per cent to 2.7 per cent at the primary level and from 24 to 7.6 at the upper primary level in 2009-10.
During 2010-11, a budget provision of Rs 1,600 crore was made for education and an expenditure of Rs 673 crore (42.1 per cent) was incurred up to November 30, 2010.
Good governance and giant strides in education, taken with its stellar performance on the macroeconomic front make Maharashtra a truly all-round topper.