On his 74th birthday, Shri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha refused to celebrate his birthday in view of Cyclone Fani that left a trail of devastation in Odisha this year. He requested the well-wishers and party members to celebrate his birthday or visit Naveen Nivas and instead celebrate birthday with the underprivileged orphan and differently abled young boys and girls which will make him happy. It is a modern day reiteration of Gandhi’s Talisman. It is not once that Naveen Patnaik has set an example of how a leader should be.
Odisha was defined by the leadership of Biju Babu, and Naveen Patnaik has kept the legacy of statesmanship going. A five times CM and soon to break record of the longest serving CM, Odisha has moved a long distance under his prolific leadership and vision. He has showed the world how leaders should be – warm, kind, bold, humble, realistic and empathetic. Taking up the reigns of Odisha in the most tumultuous times to very soon become people’s leader, he did it at ease despite being a political novice. Odisha’s resilience is the product of his commitment to fight back, come back stronger after every fall.
Whether it’s 5T or policies for women, children, old and youth, he have always stayed true to his words and fulfilled promises with commitment and dedication, becoming one of the most popular leaders that Odisha and India has produced. Odisha’s rich cultural heritage, sporting talent, natural beauty, dance, folk music, tribal culture is well recognised in the world because of his indomitable will and indefatigable efforts making a way out of no way. His style of leadership, Naveen Way has made Odisha rise in prominence. The most important ones, among a list of many intangible and other interventions, requires a special mention.
People as a Priority
“Work hard for the welfare of the people without any discrimination” is his mantra as a CM. He has always kept governance people friendly and people based. For him, People come first and the government machinery should facilitate their easy living. He says the lessons of the office have taught him to be “attentive to the requirements of the people, to always keep your ears open to their problems and try to deal with them as effectively as he can.”
Social Security Measures
An empowered Odisha where poverty would be a thing of the past, where women are equal partners in growth and development, a state that is inclusive of all vulnerable sections in its landscape of development, and where the ambitions of youth come true is his brave new dream.Odisha has arrived under his rule.
Few schemes like Aahar Yojana to provide cheap lunch to urban poor at a subsidised price of Rs 5/- per meal, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana to provide universal health coverage, with special emphasis on the health protection of economically vulnerable families, Biju Krushak Kalyan Yojana or BKKY , a health insurance scheme for the farmers in the state of Odisha, KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) to provide financial assistance to the farmers, livelihood assistance to landless families will be given; support to landless labourers and vulnerable agriculture households assistance; insurance cover & Interest-free crop loan programme are important steps towards a socially economically progressive Odisha.
“A nation that does not give effective representation to women in its highest decision-making forum is running on a single engine.If India has to hit the highway of growth and compete with the likes of US and China, it has to transform its political landscape by empowering women. This is the real double engine the country needs, to bring about growth with equity and justice. If politics is the exercise of power, women have a more humane touch in its expression. If politics can decide a Nation’s values, is it prudent to have half our population not actively involved in decision making,” believes Naveen Patnaik. Biju Babu was one of the pioneers in womens’ empowerment, who introduced 33 per cent reservation for women in the PRIs, which was increased to 50 per cent by his government. And Naveen Patnaik keeps the legacy on. Mission Shakti, Khushi and Paree are the important initiatives in this regard.
Odisha has become the sports hub and capital of the country. It has hosted many National and International Sports Events like Asian Athletics Meet in 2017, World Cup Rugby and now the World Cup Hockey. More people come to Odisha and carry a part of Odisha in their hearts. This has been made possible by the visionary leadership of Hon’ble CM of Odisha.Having hosted around five international sports events in the state capital, Odisha is now turning into a desirable destination for international sports events. It is not surprising, therefore, that stakeholders of this sector are optimistic that the road ahead is bright here. The low population density of Odisha, new infrastructure for various athletic events, complemented by its improved air and rail connectivity and a plethora of tourist destinations seem to favour the state to become a hub of major international sporting events. The infrastructure we have in Odisha – the hotels and other amenities, including the Kalinga Stadium, are not inferior to those in any other part of the country. Aside from the infrastructure, the active support of the state government towards promoting sports has helped the state to achieve the distinction of being the country’s potential sports capital.Odisha has really become the most happening state from the non happening state and Bhubaneswar as the capital of Odisha has become the most happening city from the non happening city.
The “MO” Regime
A technology-driven bus scheme was also launched by Naveen Patnaik, christened ‘Mo Bus’, which featured among its highlights free Wi-Fi, CCTV Surveillance on board, Public display system and ongoing announcements. Naveen Patnaik declared that 125 buses join city fleet, more than 300 city buses under Mo Bus programme will connect Cuttack, Puri and Bhubaneswar which will be the cheapest bus service so far with a mobile app “Mo Bus” which can track the locations of nearby bus queue shelters and check arrival times of buses. Mo Cycle, a program is equipped with nearly 2,000 modern bicycles and 400 stations for riders to access the service. The operators will coordinate to ensure redistribution and availability of Mo Cycles at locations with high demand. Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation has installed pre-fabricated modular e-toilets across the city at 30 designated locations. 60 planned toilets of which 40 are semi-automatic and 20 are fully automatic, will be installed across the Smart City foundation.
Liberal and Intellectual Capital
Odisha has a liberal and intellectual tradition to accept, recognise the intelligentsia. It allows the voice of dissent which is constructive for democracy. The secular polity of Odisha is worth a mention here. It is very accommodative to people from all over the world. The government learns from its mistakes and takes lesson from the fall-outs.
Governance through 5Ts
“People are the real masters in a democracy and every institution exists to serve citizens in a professional and dignified manner. Mo Sarkar is an initiative under the 5T model of governance to herald a transformation in government offices. Based on five parameters—team work, technology, transparency, transformation and time limit (the 5Ts)—the scheme involves taking feedback from people on the quality and timeliness of the services and reward or punish officials on that basis.
Ease of Business and Living
The 2018 ‘Make in Odisha’ Conclave has done too well. A whopping Rs 4.20 lakh crore investment has been promised by leading corporates to generate employment for nearly five hundred thousand young people. Potential investors have shown up because they feel extremely safe and reassured due to a robustly stable regime making available a truly investor-friendly environment with extremely supportive policies for ease of running business. No other State of a India can match with the affordable labour cost in Odisha, where people lead a content, happy life. They do not feel exploited despite being fully aware of the higher labour charges in the other similarly-developed States. Odisha is the most cost-competitive State judged by the criteria of cost of setting up and running a business. The report has dwelt on key parameters — wage rate of skilled labour, industrial power tariff and land costs. In all the selected parameters, Odisha wins it hands down on cost compared with States like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
When Patnaik took over in 2000, Odisha had the country’s highest poverty level at 59 per cent of the population with Kalahandi being its darkest spot. By 2012, the latest figures available, the poverty level was down to almost half – 32.5 per cent – the highest reduction in poverty among all Indian states during that period. Under him Odisha’s economic progress has been impressive. The state’s GDP grew an average of 6.66 per cent annually in the past five years and fiscal prudence was maintained. Per capita income has grown six fold and touched Rs 66,890 last year. Odisha imported rice from Punjab and Haryana when Patnaik took over. It now produces surplus rice that it exports to the rest of the country. Its anti-poverty programmes and welfare schemes for women have been emulated by the rest of India. The objective is to transform from the status quo to a dynamic and thriving Odisha where the blueprint of development is the people of Odisha. The Government has envisioned a People’s State where opportunities to achieve prosperity and wellbeing with a high quality of life and happiness will be ensured. To achieve this vision, a ten pronged mission plan is envisaged. Although the responsibility enshrined in Envisioning Odisha 2036 will be collectively and separately shared with concerned stakeholders covering the government and public sector, the private sector, the civil society and people at large in the state, the Government of Odisha will take the lead in putting in place a vision governance apparatus that will initiate and coordinate actions and efforts of all players.
Disaster Management Model
In the aftermath of Cyclone Fani, one of the worst cyclones to hit India’s eastern coastline, Odisha has proved it is one of the most disaster-ready states in the world. Odisha’s efforts to evacuate and shelter millions of people to safety has won international praise. The resilience of the people of Odisha and extensive preparations for evacuating and sheltering over a million people in the face of Cyclone Fani learning from the lessons of super cyclone, Phailin, Titli has further cemented the state’s capabilities in disaster preparedness.
The party president’s own no- frills lifestyle, restrained speech, and reputation of honesty has contributed considerably to his long-lasting popularity amongst Odias. Goodwill and trust reserves for Patnaik is more often than not why BJD legislators end up winning. Naveen Patnaik will be long remembered as the foremost leader in the history of modern Odisha.
Mind Top Shelf, Heart Tender
Biju Patnaik was charismatic and a modern day Kharavela. Naveen Patnaik in contrast is low key and an enigma who has carried that legacy to dizzier heights. Odisha under his watch have shed the unenviable tag of being laid backs and have become movers and shakers. As an adroit dribbler of hockey in his young days, his Greta Garbo kind reticence has made him sui generis, be it managing disaster or evincing empathy for women, or farmers. Top shelf in thoughts and action, indeed!