Yogi Adityanath or Yogi ji was appointed as Chief Minister of UP in March 2017. I was surprised and somewhat skeptical of the decision. People like me who think of them as “moderate” were expecting that BJP will go with someone safe. A person who is the head of a prominent Hindu math (monastery) and wears saffron cloth looked like a polarizing figure. It showed an arrogance on BJP’s part to appoint Yogi ji as Chief Minister.
Start of Yogi era and initial work that come to mind:
- Crackdown on cow smuggling, slaughterhouses
- Focus on law and order
No surprise that Yogi Government caught the eyes of media from very beginning. I do not recall reading any positive news as such. Some initial decisions of the Govt were shown to be biased towards minority. Media highlighted lack of experience of Yogi Adityanath in administration. At one point, it did look like it was not such a wise decision to appoint Yogi ji as CM of most important state for BJP.
So, what do I think of performance of Yogi Govt after 3 years in power? I think it has been OK so far. It can certainly do much more and much better. This opinion piece is about what I have liked with this Govt and what it should do as an immediate priority.
What has Yogi Government done well?
- Improved Law and order: There have been some controversies on how rule of law was firmly implemented but it is without a doubt that state is in a better situation now.
- No scams, corruption at top level: There were reports of corruption in tenure of previous UP Govt, especially in recruitment in Govt jobs. There has not been any accusation on this Govt. Although widespread corruption does exist at lower levels and it will continue to be.
- Well organized large events
- Khumbh mela: Last mela happened in Prayagraj (Allahabad) in 2018-19. It had an estimated 12 crore visitors. It is perhaps the largest religious gathering in the world. Personally, I have not been to any Khumbh Mela but I am told that Mela in 2018-19 was well planned and organized.
- DefExpo Lucknow 2020: Held every 2 years, it is the largest exhibition of military technology in India. This year’s event had the participation from 70 countries, 170 companies. As country is trying to focus on indigenous military technology development and their export, such events are crucial. This was the first time DefExpo happened in UP. It was organized very well and appreciated by several defense journalists.
- Peace in state (No riots): Barring few incidents, there has not been any riot. Govt has been accused of hard handedness and some controversial decisions like seize of property. But mostly peace has been maintained in state. By the way, why should not there be a law to penalize protestors for damage to public property?
- Handling of Corona virus: This to me is the biggest achievement of Yogi Govt. Yogi govt has handled the situation superbly so far.
- Monitoring at top level and early focus on hotspots, districts has made sure that situation is well under control
- Govt machinery is very active. In my locality, there are deliveries by Parag dairy. It never happens in normal situation. Daily essentials are available as well and shopkeepers are conscious of overpricing to customers
- Some new initiatives like manufacturing of 60 crore masks are welcome as well.
What Yogi Govt should focus in immediate future:
- Job creations, for everyone: Unemployment rate in state is high. It will get worse due to coronavirus. State needs jobs of “all collar”.
- e-Governance: I recently had to get a certificate from Govt department. I found that earlier when there was no e-Portal, process was much better, faster, and less expensive. Now one needs to apply at website which usually does not work (no customer support as well). If and when you are done with online application, offline file process continues.
Govt needs to follow the model of passport services in India. A private company must manage website and operations. It is the only way I can think of to make life of common man easier. Otherwise we would continue to be a society in which rich and powerful get things done at their convenience. Others try to find a “jugaad” or come with cash. Usually one needs both jugaad and cash.