The government has received flak for allegedly shielding the corrupt ministers and slow pace of investigation in irrigation scam, reports Sanjay Jog.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who entered his third year in office on Tuesday, faces the daunting task of fulfilling some key election promises, including making the state toll tax free, abolition of the local body tax, quotas for the Maratha and Dhangar (shepherd) communities, establishment of a Contract Labour Commission and putting over 400 irrigation project on the fast track.
The quota issue came into the limelight after marches by Marathas, who make up 32 per cent of the state’s population, to protest against the rape and killing of a minor in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar district. Later, the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes also organised marches to demand continuation of the Atrocity Act.
Fadnavis has iterated the government’s commitment to providing a quota to the Marathas without disturbing the quotas of other communities but his government will have to cross several legal hurdles.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partner the Shiv Sena face a tough test in elections to 212 municipalities and nagar panchayats this month. The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party will make every attempt to target the ruling alliance on farm distress, deteriorating law and order and burgeoning malnutrition deaths.
The government has also received flak for allegedly shielding corrupt ministers, slow investigations into an irrigation scam, a circular listing acts of sedition, and a draft of the Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act that brings a gathering of 100 or more people under police scrutiny.
To its credit, the government has partially abolished the local body tax, making it applicable only to traders with an annual turnover of over Rs 50 crore. But the government has to make a provision of Rs 6,500 crore annually to compensate the civic bodies for the revenue lost.
Image: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters