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Maharashtra assembly elections: The one-horse race

As India's largest industrial state gears up for elections in few weeks, law expert Ashutosh Muglikar writes why he will again vote for CM Fadnavis.

Devendra Fadnavis is bidding for his re-election as the CM of largest industrial state in India in the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly polls which are set to be held in few weeks. He has recently completed a “Maha Jan Aadesh Yatra” across the state with spectacular show of mass turnout. This has definitely set Devendra Fadnavis as a mass leader. So what exactly is happening in Maharashtra? To know this, one has to look at the entire political career of Devendra Fadnavis and why I call the upcoming elections ‘the one horse race’.

The “Maharashtra Model” of Governance

Security and safety

When the incumbent CM came to power the state was reeling under a major security crisis. News was flowing in that a large number of youth were joining ISIS and some terror modules etc were unearthed as well. Apart from this the state had seen a number of bomb blasts and terror attacks which need no mentioning. Improving the state of security was priority number 1 for the government. After all Maharashtra is the largest contributor to India’s economy and this state needs to be safe to attract the kind of investments it does.

So what did the government do? Firstly, the basic infrastructure of the police force was modernised. They got pensions, housing, revamped police stations, computers and other equipment’s. The forensic labs were commissioned to improve crime detection. About a thousand police stations across the state were connected to each other which ensured data and information sharing was seamlessly done.

One major activity which was commissioned and completed was the Mumbai CCTV project and launch of Automated Multi-Modal Biometric Identification System or AMBIS which stores fingerprints, photographs and retinal scans of all the criminals. Result? Zero Terror attacks and the state was able to deal with the naxal menace as well.

Economy and Jobs

Be it the economy or job creation, the state has consistently outperformed the national averages by a mile. A favourable atmosphere for industries prevails in the state with tremendous leaps when it comes to ease of doing business numbers. The reforms like removal of archaic laws tying down businesses and launch of portals like “Aaple Sarkar” have helped businesses to save time and cost and increase efficiency. Invest in Maharashtra has reaped tremendous results with the state being Number 1 when it comes to attracting FDI. Access to electricity backed by supply of power and easing of coal supply has benefitted the industry tremendously. For setting up of new industrial units a single window clearance system was setup and it works like a breeze. IT and ITeS sectors were given special focus because they are good job generators.

Farms and Farmers

What many people don’t realise is that two big regions in one state, Marathwada and Vidarbha, are always reeling under severe drought and they have been long ignored by subsequent governments. Something had to be done for them and quickly.

The first move was to develop rural infrastructure for farms. The CM himself launched the Jal Yukt Shivar Scheme to develop small ponds to provide water for irrigation. The scheme has been a massive success. For the agri produce the state led from the front to unshackle the agriculture produce market commissions. That’s how the decades old control of the APMC was removed and the farmer could sell his or her crop at the choice of his location and price. Farmers in Maharashtra are enjoying the revamped insurance scheme, pension scheme and supply of farm essentials like fertilisers and equipment. Moreover the farmers are also getting access to electricity and solar pumps.

Apart from this the cold storage networks are being developed across the state, road infrastructure is giving market access and soil health cards and technological interventions are giving good decision making tools in the hands of the farmers. The state, like I said earlier, craves for water. It is single most essential requirement for the masses. The government has taken massive strides to ensure that water is available to all. Cities after cities are getting rid of the tankers because the Dam water management is now being run professionally. We have left behind the Ghose of the irrigation scams behind and taken strides towards the future.

People Centric Government

Ease of living should have always been an agenda for the any government. Unfortunately, that had to be a focus only in 2014. On a day to day basis the citizens do interact with the state machinery and delays in their work not only cause hardships but are a sore pain to the citizens. At the policy level the laws were passed and revamped making provision of services a right for the people and a duty for the government.

For implementing these ethos a portal named “Aaple Sarkar” was launched whereby 400 services across 39 departments are being provided online. This reduced time, cost and most importantly harassment and corruption for the citizens. To curb corruption and for bringing transparency in government offices, the work of all government offices is now digitized. People are getting relevant information and documents such as land record of farmers, through the internet and at free of cost.

Maharashtra has always been an urban state. Government is building 10 new smart cities which will provide ease of living to the people. Play grounds, parks and open spaces are being built via flexible FSI policy. These cities are within a network of expressways which are being developed and important cities like Mumbai- Jalgaon – Nagpur- Nanded – Solapur – Kolhapur- Ratnagiri and Pune are seeing never before scale of connectivity. A city needs an excellent and credible public transport system will be built which will create more employment opportunities for the youth.

Conclusion

The Government has focused on massively on education and youth development, women empowerment and public health. The state has invested in skill development and training centres. To ensure women safety special police squads have been setup. For working women, hostels have been revamped. This also benefits the vast population of women coming in from other states as well. There not a single section of society which has not been touched by the policies of this government. Every region and people of every strata have seen the honest efforts and commitment.

This is the single reason why I say that the upcoming elections are a single horse race and Devendra Fadnavis shall emerge as a winner.

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Ashutosh Muglikar
Articles on Corporate Laws, Policy, Economics and Politics. Maverick. Lover of Ideas. Slayer of Hoaxes.

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