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Rajasthan: Maladministration rising amid ongoing political turmoil

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Prakash Bhandari, Jaipur: The ongoing political turmoil that entered the third week has brought Rajasthan’s administration to a grinding halt, with several Cabinet ministers closeted in a hotel in Jaisalmer. The political turmoil in Rajasthan also led to a decline in Congress’ image.

In fact, Rajasthan has not witnessed such maladministration as is being witnessed in the current situation. In the absence of ministers in the state secretariat, either no decisions are being taken or decisions are taken by bureaucrats.

Only Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot attends to important works along with health minister Raghu Sharma. As the ruling party is reeling under an internal crisis fuelled by the BJP, the administration has come to a standstill in all the 33 districts.

Bizarre situation

The crisis in Rajasthan is witnessing a bizarre situation. Large-scale transfers of administrative and police officials being effected under the pressure of the MLAs staying in Jaisalmer. The MLAs are getting the officials in their constituencies transferred and replacing them with their desired officials.

Large scale transfers of officials were done by the chief minister after removing chief secretary DB Gupta on July 2 and replacing him with Rajiv Swarup.

In all, 103 IAS officers have been transferred so far. The process of transfer of officials belonging to the IPS and Rajasthan Administrative Services (RAS) still continues.

Portfolio allocations

What is surprising is that the chief minister has not allotted the portfolios held by the three sacked ministers Sachin Pilot, Vishvendra Singh and Ramesh Meena. Notably, the portfolios held by these three leaders are being managed by bureaucrats.

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Sachin Pilot held the PWD and panchayat raj portfolio, Vishvendra Singh held tourism and Ramesh Meena civil supplies.  All these portfolios are being governed by the bureaucrats.  Normally, when a minister resigns or is sacked, his portfolio is allotted to some minister on a temporary basis. But, Ashok Gehlot has neither allotted the portfolios to others nor kept it himself.

The worst is being witnessed by the panchayat raj department which was under Pilot and the department is awaiting the allotments of over Rs 1,400 crores from the finance department which has brought the work of the rural development department to a standstill.

Double whammy

The state has suffered huge crop loss estimated to be around Rs 200 crore because of the locust attack. As a result, Gehlot has urged the PM Modi to declare the locust attack as a national disaster.

The locust attack has caused immense hardship to the farmers. While the farmers are facing a crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic, locust attack has further aggravated the situation.

 

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