Odisha : Transformative Governance

When we transform, we surpass the default form; we go beyond the habit of repetition. The state of Odisha under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has witnessed incredible transformation in the last two decades. The state had resources. The people had ambitions. By adding resolute purpose and incisive methods, the Government has made the state look almost unrecognizably altered. The war against poverty, ignorance and disease is on. The moral standards are improved. And the character of politics and administration is refreshingly changed. The state looks reformed. The transformation agenda is ongoing.

Governance – good governance – has been the key. The steady transformation of the government and the service delivery mechanism is a result of Naveen’s people-centric governance agenda. The agenda looks at the common man as the master and the government is there to serve them. Today’s new Odisha is a confident state that is working for the betterment of the people without depending on others. The transformation of the state is not confined to any single sphere or department but overall. All the elements of a welfare state are imbibed in the transformation agenda. At the core is the corpus of Gandhian Principles and values of politics and governance. The proven outcome of the 5T Initiatives and its Mo Sarkar Charter can be seen in all the areas of governance of the state today. Some notable examples of transformation under the 5T Initiatives are analysed here.

Transforming Governance – People are the Real Masters

Odisha Government’s most ambitious transformation creativity – the 5T Initiative – also includes the ‘Mo Sarkar’ charter which is responsibly aimed at, and geared to, transforming the thinking and tools associated with the governance of the state. The historic initiative named ‘Mo Sarkar’ intends to make governance people-centric. It reaffirms that the common people are the masters and the people’s representatives and public officials are there to serve them only. ‘Mo Sarkar’ empowers the common man visiting the government offices to be treated with dignity and get all his grievances solved with sincerity and a time bound manner. Its main function is to bring about attitudinal alteration in the way the Government functions. The five Ts – Technology, Transparency, Timely Completion of Work, Team Work and Transformation – remain at the centre of the idea of ‘Mo Sarkar’ to make the government accountable to its citizens.

Under the aegis of the Mo Sarkar program, various departments of the state government have witnessed tremendous change in the last two years. Particularly, the service delivery mechanism in Police stations, Hospitals, Revenue Department offices – the three immediate fields impinging on the daily lives of citizens – have witnessed a complete transformation. In less than two years all Police stations and Hospitals have been brought under the purview of the Mo Sarkar Charter to ensure proper service delivery and feedback. The citizens now do not have to run to a police station again and again for registering a complaint. Rather the police will be following up the complainant. Each and every complainant will be dealt with dignity.

Transforming Schools To Prepare Citizens of Tomorrow

Better Education, to Prepare Better Citizens. One of Odisha government’s most ambitious programs to revamp the school education system being undertaken under the ‘Mo School Abhiyan’ is the High Schools Transformation Program. Driven by the core principles of 5T Initiatives, the Government has been transforming the essence and dynamics of more than a thousand government schools into state of the art learning centres. This project intends to change the traditional schools into technology driven learning centres where students are provided with the best education to make them better citizens. The government has made an allocation of Rs 253 Crore under ‘Mo School Program’ for infrastructure development of schools in various districts in the financial year 2021-22.

As part of this, initially schools from each block are being selected and developmental works undertaken to transform them. The schools will be equipped with modern facilities such as Smart Classrooms, e-library, science laboratory, sports facilities, reading rooms, computer labs and other facilities. The overall look and feel of the school buildings are also being upgraded with new furniture, digital white boards, greenery and facilities such as clean drinking water, toilets and rest rooms. What makes it a winning project is the government is undertaking all the developmental activities in the schools by taking along all stakeholders such as governing body members, teachers, panchayat representatives, parents and the school students. With the instructions of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, 5T Secretary V K Pandian has been directly monitoring the transformation initiative.

The ‘Mo School Abhiyan’, launched in 2017, has been a massive success in the state with more than 35 thousand schools being part of this. Its call for the alumnae to become a part of this initiative under school adoption program has attracted more than five lakh twenty five thousand old students who have joined hands in developing their respective alma maters.

Another notable initiative that has been brought under the fold of 5T Initiatives is the transformation of the Adarsha Vidyalayas of the state. About 215 CBSE affiliated Adarsha Vidyalayas are providing best education to more than 58,712 underprivileged children from class VI through XII. What makes it a successful and unique effort is the enrolment of more girls in these co-educational residential schools. Odisha launched an unprecedented initiative to provide free quality education to underprivileged children through CBSE affiliated English-medium schools so that no deserving child of Odisha is deprived of his/her right to learn. The principles of 5T – Teamwork, Technology, Transparency, Time bringing in Transformation – are writ large here.

Ensuring Universal Healthcare With State of The Art Facilities

Never before in the history of Odisha has an overhauling of healthcare facilities been undertaken as in the last two decades. Continuing its endeavour for free universal healthcare to all its citizens, Odisha has been trying its best to transform the sector with purpose and vigour. The development of the health infrastructure got more impetus especially after the commencement of the 5T Initiatives. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s vision for this mission can be seen in the various infrastructure development projects undertaken in every nook and corner of the state. Not only urban areas are seeing a revolutionary change in healthcare delivery, village and district level hospitals have been included in the transformation program. The priority given to healthcare sector can be judged by the fact that about ten percent of the state’s budget is earmarked for health related activities. In the 2021-22 budget, Odisha government has allocated an amount of Rs 9,164 crore for public healthcare with an increase of about 19% over the previous year.

Malkangiri District Head Quarter Hospital

The impact of 5T Initiatives on healthcare development of the state is clearly visible on the ground with all major hospitals being upgraded with state of the art facilities. The biggest initiative of the Government of Odisha in the healthcare sector is the transformation of the SCB Medical College and Hospital into an AIIMS Plus category hospital with an expenditure of Rs 3500 Crore. The developed hospital will have more than 5000 beds by 2024. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been directly monitoring the development works of SCB Medical College and the three year time set for the completion of the project seems is being methodically pursued and monitored.

Speaking during a review meeting, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has gone responsibly on record as saying: “Expansion of the prestigious institution to a world-class healthcare centre will be taken up under the 5T model of governance. Besides infrastructure development, the state government has also planned to bring changes in the healthcare system. The objective is to facilitate best of the healthcare facility to the common people within the state,”. He has also said that the redevelopment of SCB will be an example in offering quality healthcare services and medical education in the country and the intent is to place the SCB Medical College and Hospital among the best three healthcare institutions of the country.

This apart, all the government run medical colleges in the state have seen tremendous growth in terms of infrastructure addition and improved facilities including number of doctors and paramedics. All the district headquarter hospitals of the state have been provided with robust infrastructure with new buildings, advanced medical instruments, facilities for patients and caretakers. The current massive infrastructure push includes investment of more than Rs 8,500 crore on strengthening various health infrastructure development projects in the state. In addition to the infrastructure of the medicals, the government has also focused on the availability of doctors in them. In the last few years, the government of Odisha has doubled the number of doctors and nursing staff in order to provide best services. Odisha government has been continuously augmenting the healthcare system by recruiting a large number of personnel over the last few years. The 5T framework has been successful in developing the healthcare system as it can be seen on the ground. Senior officials of the government, including the Chief Secretary, are making regular ground visits to various hospitals and health facilities for monitoring the developmental activities. A clear dispersal and decentralisation plan can be seen here to ensure equitable access to health-care facilities for all regions. The elements of 5T for serving the poorest of poor of the state are clearly to the fore here.

SLN Medical and College Koraput

As part of the big push for infrastructure development of state medicals along with the setting up of new medical colleges in various backward districts [like, for example, Kandhamal] will transform the healthcare delivery mechanism in Odisha. The investments in the healthcare sector have already started paying dividends. Gone are the days when patients were harassed in hospitals and middlemen played the spoilsport. With the path-breaking ‘Mo Sarkar’ program under 5T Initiatives – a brainchild of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik – the Government is taking feedback from patients on the various parameters that affect the functioning of a hospital and, basis the same, is force-changing the behaviour of the medical staff with the patients and the attendants. Another component of the Mo Sarkar Initiative is curbing bribery in hospitals and getting rid of the middlemen who cheat the gullible patients by diverting them to the private clinics. The Chief Minister has ordered for stern action against middlemen and it has led to the vanishing of middlemen in all government hospitals. The innovative and revolutionary steps being taken to overhaul the healthcare system in the state is being seen as a model that other state governments need to emulate at their end.

Reviving and Transforming the Corridors of Heritage

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to transform the pilgrim city of Puri into a World Heritage City by developing the areas surrounding the Jagannath temple and various other places including the Swarga-Dwara has resulted in the Sri-Kshetra getting its pride of place. It has added a glorious chapter in the tourism development and religious history of Odisha. The government of Odisha has initiated a massive development program for this holy city which entails an expenditure of more than 3000 crore rupees. An important part of this initiative is to first transform the immediate surroundings of the Srimandira by clearing commercial buildings and old dilapidated structures within 75 meters of the sacred shrine. In the last two years, the magnificence and majesty of the sacred temple of Lord Jagannath has been reinstated with the restoration of the expansive space surrounding the shrine which attracts devotees and visitors from across the world. The government of Odisha, under the aegis of the scheme called ABADHA [Augmentation of Basic Amenities and Development of Heritage and Architecture], intends to develop various infrastructure projects in three years. Pilgrims coming to the land of Lord Jagannath are going to have a pleasant experience hereafter in view of the transformation initiatives underway in Puri. While the process has already started with a definitive objective, devotees are now experiencing the change. With the Odisha Government on a fast-track mode to transform the pilgrim city of Puri into a World Heritage City, a special beautification drive has also been initiated around the Jagannath temple. The temple city transformation plan includes creating better infrastructure for pilgrims and providing security cover to the centuries old Lord Jagannath Temple. As part of the transformation initiative, the administration is putting up sheds for darshan-queue by pilgrims and lanes have been created for better management of pilgrim rush. The new initiatives and the consequent visible make-overs have been lauded by Puri citizens and incoming devotees alike.

Swarga-Dwara, the revered crematorium for Hindus of the state and beyond, has already been converted into one of the tidiest and modern crematoriums of the country with all user-friendly facilities. Literally meaning the Gateway to Heaven, Swarga Dwara has undergone a transformation process for the last one and half year under Odisha Government’s ambitious 5T Initiative and has become a part of the grand Heritage Corridor Project. The Swarga Dwara Development project included a massive two storied structure sitting on 1.3 acre land. The ground floor of the structure has 28 funeral pyre platforms, wood storage facility and the wood counter. Also, it has sufficient space for rituals conducted before the cremation. The first floor of the structure will house the Manager’s Room, waiting hall for the people coming from various places and a cafeteria. There will also be an administration block which will have the seats for the officials. Keeping in view the need, the place will also have a separate space for the Sankaracharya. The open spaces will have plantation and landscaping to aesthetically go with the structure.

In addition, huge infrastructure and beautification programs have also been planned for the city. Multi-lane roads, flyover bridges, multi- level parking systems, amenities for devotees of Lord Jagannath, revival of the Musa River, rehabilitation of affected families in security zone, renovation of existing lakes with creation of a new lake and renovation of mutts have been included in the package. The district administration has started implementing what the Chief Minister’s dream to transform the city. The swift action by the administration and relentless supervision by the 5T Secretary V K Pandian are giving shape to the Chief Minister’s the epoch-making vision for Puri. The development plan which has already started showing on the ground will be recorded in history as one of the finest and biggest transformations of the place.

Similarly, the development of the sacred Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar is another major initiative of the government as part of the transformation process. For Lingaraj Temple, the government has prepared the Ekamra Kshetra Redevelopment Plan and has started works to develop an area of 66 acres. The redevelopment plan includes preserving heritage and development of the nine sites and their nearby areas with an expenditure of around Rs 700 crore.

While the Jagannath and Lingaraj Temle are the biggest ones that are undergoing transformation, the Government of Odisha has also taken up the development of the other temples that have significance. Taratarini temple in Ganjam, Samalei Temple in Sambalpur, Baladevjew Temple in Kendrapada etc. are some of the other temples that have also been included for development. In addition to this, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered for the development of Pilgrim Amenities at various religious institutions of the state. The State Government has also allotted funds for repair and beautification of several mosques and churches. It affirms Naveen Government’s commitment to respect all faiths equally and uphold the multi-culture, secular spirit of the country.

Transforming Lives Through Clean Drinking Water: Sujal Drink From Tap Mission

Another best example of transformation that is impacting the lives of the people is the inauguration of the Drink From Tap mission in Puri town as part of the 5T Initiatives. With this mission, Puri has become the first city in the country to provide all its citizens clean drinking water through taps. While it will benefit the people of Puri tremendously, it will also help more than two crore visitors who come to the holy city as pilgrims. Puri has joined the league of international cities like London, New York, Los Angeles and Singapore in providing Drink-From-Tap quality piped drinking water to all its 2.5 lakh population. While this will quench the thirst of all with clean drinking water, the environment is also going to be protected through avoidance of use of plastic bottles. Speaking during the inauguration of the project, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that, “The move will now eliminate the usage of 3 crore plastic water bottles. This would mean the city will now be free from nearly 400 tonnes of plastic waste.”

The ambitious Sujal project of Odisha Government aims to provide 24 x 7 Drink-From-Tap quality water to households in 16 towns of the state and will provide clean drinking water to more than 40 lakh population. The project entails an estimated cost of about Rs 1300 Crore. The core elements of 5T will also be seen in implementing the Sujal Mission in these cities as it has provisions for a 24*7 helpline centre for grievance redressal. A mobile water testing laboratory along with quick response teams will be deployed for attending the complaints of the residents.

This clean drinking water mission will help millions of people avoid the health costs that may have come through water borne diseases. It also ensures that the common man gets this basic human need which is an integral constituent of the right to life.

Taking A Place In The Sports Map of The World

The energy of the Odishan youth and its ever-increasing skill-set cannot be harnessed without the development of its sports infrastructure. Odisha’s transformation story goes in parallel to the development of sports infrastructure in the state. From being a non-entity in sports and athletics activities two decades ago, Odisha has transformed itself into the sports capital of the country. Successful organization of many national and international sporting events at regular intervals proves that Odisha’s day has come as a major destination for sports activities.

This transformative journey of Odisha Sports started way back in 2010-11 when the Chief Minister’s Private secretary VK Pandian joined CM’s Office and the two sports lovers (CM is a great lover of hockey and himself was a goalie in hockey and V K Pandian who came from a sports hostel) drew the road map to put Odisha into the global map so far as promotion of sports is concerned. Transformation of sports is an integral part of the 5T Initiatives of the Government.

Ticket Outlets & Box Office Open from Today for FIH Men’s Series Finals in Bhubaneswar
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. (File Photo)

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s thrust on sports activities in the state can be gauged from the fact that the state government has been spending sizeable amounts of money in strengthening the sports infrastructure of the state. Today, Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex in Bhubaneswar has become a hub for multi-disciplinary sports activities starting from Hockey, Football and Rugby to all athletics. State of the art infrastructure at Kalinga Stadium has attracted rave reviews from national and international quarters. Kalinga Stadium has hosted some of the biggest names of the sporting world including Asian Athletic Championship, Women’s Gold Cup Football, Men’s FIH Pro League, Men’s FIH Olympic Qualifiers, Women’s FIH Olympic Qualifiers, Men’s Hockey Series Finals, Men’s Hockey World Cup, Men’s FIH Hockey World League, Hockey Champions Trophy, Asia Rugby Women’s Championship, Indian Super Cup football and many more. Odisha has also got the rare distinction of hosting the Hockey World Cup for the second time in 2023 after its spectacular organization of the event in 2018. The state is also going to have the privilege of hosting the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium.

The state government’s proactive measures to develop sports activities in the state have attracted a large number of initiatives from across the country. Some of the biggest names that have set up their training facilities in the state include Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance, Dalmia Bharat Gopichand Badminton Academy, JSW Swimming High Performance Centre, Khelo India State Centre of Excellence for Athletics, Hockey, and Weightlifting, KJS Ahluwalia and Tenvic Sports High Performance Centre for Weightlifting, Naval Tata Hockey Academy (NTHA), Odisha Aditya Birla and Gagan Narang Shooting High Performance Centre, Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance, SAI Regional Badminton Academy, Udaan Badminton Academy and the AIFF High Performance Centre. In order to nurture sporting talent and events in the state, the government of Odisha has been proactively spending huge amounts of money. Odisha has become the first state in the country to sponsor both the Men’s and Women’s hockey team for five years. Brand Odisha is now ready to enthral the international audience.

Odisha’s thrust has also been on developing sporting infrastructure at the grassroots level. The government has been constructing mini stadiums in each and every district and urban areas of the state. Grampanchayats are also being given financial assistance for procuring sporting goods for the local talent. The state level Tribal Meet organized in 2017 is one of its kind in the country which saw participation of more than a lakh young men and women from the tribal areas. Rourkela, which will co-host the next Hockey World Cup in 2023, is going to have India’s largest hockey stadium at an estimated cost of Rs 600 crore.

With likeable changes across all spheres of people’s lives, Odisha today has pride within and visibility without. What the Naveen Patnaik government has delivered is not simply good governance but true democratic governance where the servants of people deliver what people want and deserve. The Chief Minister has already left distinctive and lasting footprints. Accomplishments are now matching the ambitions of the people of the state. Heart-warmingly, it looks like the good times will only keep getting better.

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