ndsharma's blog

Chouhan now wants to spread happiness in Madhya Pradesh

Posted on: January 30, 2018

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s fascination for holding panchayats may have declined but his enthusiasm for making promises has not. He has now promised to create an atmosphere of happiness in the State and would pay Rs 10 lakh to whoever is willing to submit a project to achieve this. This is only natural that he should think of spreading happiness all around after having taken care of the problems of different segments of society. That he did by holding panchayats of those segments.

Within months of his having taken over as Chief Minister in November 2005, Chouhan held a kisan panchayat at his residence where he made as many as 35 promises aimed at redressing each and every grievance of the farmers. Chouhan is never tired of calling himself a ‘kisan-putra’ and the fact that the first panchayat he held was of the farmers shows his overwhelming concern for the agricultural community. If the farmers are still restive and agitating violently for the redress of their grievances and committing suicide almost regularly, it is only too bad.

Having taken care of the problems of farmers, Chouhan paid attention to other sections. So far he has held nearly two scores of panchayats covering almost every segment of society. The panchayat of Bais (house-maids) was the twenty-first such panchayat held at the CM’s residence. Chouhan declared at the outset that a housemaid would no more be called as Bai (as is the custom) but ‘Behen’ if she is younger and ‘Didi’ if she is older. The Bais would be issued photo identity cards and the Government would spend up to Rs 20,000 if a Bai fell ill. This facility would be extended to her husband, son, daughter, mother-in-law, father-in-law and widowed and deserted daughter also.

The other promises made by Chouhan included: free text-books to their children in addition to the monthly cash payment to the children; 45 days’ maternity leave and 15 days’ paternity leave to the husband while the Government would pay the wages of both for these periods; Rs 1000 cash payment to the Bai for nutritious diet during maternity. There were some more promises like insurance cover against death or accident and provision of pension.

He made similar promises with variations according to their specific needs to different sections such as agricultural labourers (including financial help for cremation if an agricultural labourer or his/her dependant died), kotwars (land, new cycles, new bright uniforms every year and immunity from prosecution), industrialists (international markets would be made available to the small scale sector for its products), the disabled, the poor belonging to the general category, and the women.

After solving the problems of the people segment-wise, Chouhan decided some time back to set up a Department of Happiness to spread happiness throughout the State. The Minister of Happiness, incidentally, is Lal Singh Arya against whom there is a non-bailable arrest warrant in a murder case. He waited for nearly two weeks for the police to arrest him but the police could not find him. Then he managed to get a stay order from the High Court. Now the Chief Minister has promised Rs 10 lakh to whoever can tell him how to spread happiness all around.

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Only one side of picture!

“It cannot be doubted that each of us can only see part of the picture. The doctor sees one, the patient another, the engineer a third, the economist a fourth, the pearl diver a fifth, the alcoholic a sixth, the cable guy a seventh, the sheep farmer an eighth, the Indian beggar a ninth, the pastor a tenth. Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.” —- PAUL KALANITHI

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