Top 10 Key Issues the Mohan Majhi Govt.Should address to transform Odisha

With the recent political shift in Odisha, the BJP has taken the helm after a 24-year rule by the BJD. Chief Minister Mohan Majhi and his team face the enormous task of addressing pressing issues to meet the high expectations of the electorate. From boosting employment and agricultural development to improving healthcare and education, the new government has a unique opportunity to drive transformative changes. This article outlines the top ten areas where focused efforts are essential for building a prosperous and resilient Odisha.

Employment Generation

The new government in Odisha should prioritize employment generation by focusing on industrial revival and attracting both domestic and international investments. Encouraging the establishment of new industries in sectors like manufacturing, information technology, and renewable energy can create numerous job opportunities. Additionally, promoting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and providing skill development programs tailored to the needs of these industries will equip the youth with the necessary skills. Implementing policies that incentivize businesses to set up operations in Odisha, such as tax breaks and simplified regulatory processes, can further stimulate job creation. Special attention should be given to sectors with high employment potential, such as textiles and tourism.

Agricultural Development

Agricultural development is crucial for Odisha, where a significant portion of the population relies on farming for their livelihood. The government should focus on enhancing irrigation infrastructure to ensure consistent water supply to farmlands, reducing dependency on monsoons. Introducing modern farming techniques and providing access to high-quality seeds, fertilizers, and machinery can improve agricultural productivity. Establishing better market linkages and providing fair pricing mechanisms will help farmers get adequate returns for their produce. Additionally, the government should focus on diversifying crops and promoting agro-based industries to create additional income sources for farmers.

A key initiative that the new government should continue to support and expand is the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme. This scheme provides financial assistance to small and marginal farmers, sharecroppers, and landless agricultural laborers. Under KALIA, farmers receive ₹10,000 per family per year for cultivation and livelihood support, which helps in reducing the financial burden and encouraging sustainable farming practices. Additionally, the scheme offers interest-free crop loans up to ₹50,000, providing much-needed financial relief. Ensuring the effective implementation and expansion of KALIA can significantly boost agricultural development and improve the economic well-being of farmers in Odisha. Any new scheme that the Majhi government can think of which promises better outcomes, will always be appreciated.

Disaster Management

Odisha’s vulnerability to natural disasters like cyclones necessitates a robust disaster management strategy. The outgoing Naveen government had an unmatched credibility in managing disasters including natural calamities like cyclones. The Super cyclone in 1999 devastated the coastal state that witnessed loss of more than 15,000 lives and the estimated damage cost is around $5 billion. Since then the state has designed its own disaster management mechanism and ensured no lives are lost due to cyclones again. The new government has to match the previous government’s preparedness in handling such calamities, if not better it. It should invest in early warning systems and community awareness programs to prepare residents for impending disasters. Strengthening infrastructure, such as cyclone shelters and resilient housing, can mitigate the impact of such events. Effective coordination between various governmental and non-governmental agencies during disasters is crucial for timely response and relief efforts. Moreover, integrating disaster risk reduction into development planning will ensure long-term resilience against natural calamities.

Healthcare Improvement

Improving healthcare infrastructure in Odisha, particularly in rural areas, should be a top priority for the new government. Increasing the number of primary healthcare centers and ensuring they are well-equipped with medical supplies and trained personnel can significantly enhance healthcare delivery. Initiatives to attract and retain healthcare professionals in remote areas, such as providing incentives and better working conditions, are essential. Expanding telemedicine services can bridge the gap in healthcare access for rural populations. Additionally, public health campaigns focused on preventive care and awareness about common diseases will improve overall health outcomes in the state.

Leveraging schemes like the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) can ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable populations receive necessary medical care without financial burden. BSKY, which covers around 3.5 crore people in Odisha, provides free healthcare services up to ₹5 lakhs per family and ₹10 lakhs for women in government and empaneled private hospitals. Aligning with the national Ayushman Bharat scheme can further extend healthcare benefits and ensure comprehensive coverage. Ayushman Bharat aims to provide a health cover of ₹5 lakhs per family per year, benefiting over 10 crore families nationwide. Integrating these schemes can create a robust healthcare safety net, improving overall health outcomes in the state

Education Reform

The new government must prioritize education reform to enhance the quality and accessibility of education in Odisha. Upgrading infrastructure in schools and colleges, especially in rural areas, is essential for creating a conducive learning environment. Implementing teacher training programs will ensure educators are equipped with modern teaching methodologies. Expanding vocational and skill development programs can prepare students for diverse career opportunities and meet the demands of various industries. Moreover, increasing investment in educational technology can facilitate remote learning and ensure continuity of education during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incorporating global best practices can further elevate the educational standards in Odisha. One such practice is the Finnish model of education, which emphasizes personalized learning, minimal homework, and a collaborative classroom environment. This model focuses on student well-being and creative thinking, encouraging a more holistic approach to education. The government could pilot programs that adopt these principles, such as flexible curriculums that cater to individual learning paces and interests. Additionally, integrating technology in classrooms through digital tools and platforms can enhance interactive learning and provide students with global exposure. Adopting these innovative practices can help build a more dynamic and effective education system in Odisha.

Infrastructure Development

Infrastructure development is vital for Odisha’s economic growth and overall development. The government should focus on building and upgrading roads, bridges, and public transport systems to improve connectivity across the state. Developing ports and airports can boost trade and tourism, attracting more investments. Ensuring reliable and affordable power supply and expanding renewable energy projects will support industrial growth and sustainability. Additionally, urban infrastructure should be enhanced to accommodate the growing population in cities, ensuring better living standards and reducing congestion.

Water Management:

Water has always played a major role in human societies. It is literally a source of life and prosperity and a cause of death and devastation. Because of this close relationship between water and man, water resources management has been viewed as a crucial vehicle for socio-economic development. Odisha is endowed with abundant water resources but these resources are very unevenly distributed. The state has around 11% of the total water resources of the country with eleven river basins.

The water resources development activities were taken up by the Government mainly to curb the   devastating floods of few rivers. Though some noticeable works were done, there is a need for a coordinated approach to remove regional inequality. Sectoral demands of water such as domestic and urban accumulation, industrial requirements should be taken care of adequately. Construction of major irrigation dams would be a great effort to use the water resources.

Cultural Preservation and Tourism:

The main culture of Odisha is characterized by its rich heritage of classical arts, temple architecture, traditional music, dance, and a strong devotion to Lord Jagannath. Odisha, the land of the battleground for the famous Kalinga war fought by Ashoka the Great, and also the land for the Buddhist Shanti Stupa of Dhaulagiri Hills. Be it temples scattered all over the state or be it the exotic birds of Chilika are the sign of relief to the one seeking the peace of mind. It is time for the new government to highlight the rich culture and attract tourists from around the world, actively contributing to the state’s economic development.

Environmental Protection:

Situated on the east coast of India, Odisha covers a substantial area of 155,707 square kilometers, constituting 4.74% of the country’s total geographical extent. The state faces significant challenges due to its susceptibility to frequent natural disasters like cyclones and floods. Given the escalating concerns related to global warming and other environmental issues, it becomes paramount for the government to undertake proactive measures to protect Odisha’s natural resources.

The government bears a primary responsibility in safeguarding the environment through effective policies and initiatives. This includes implementing robust disaster preparedness and response mechanisms to mitigate the impact of cyclones and floods, which are recurrent threats to the state. Furthermore, addressing the broader implications of climate change demands strategic planning and sustainable practices to ensure the long-term ecological balance of Odisha.

Good Governance and Anti-Corruption:

Ensuring good governance is not just an expectation but a cornerstone of effective governance. A responsible government must remain vigilant and proactive in its efforts to combat corruption across all levels of administration. This involves not only activating law enforcement systems and anti-corruption departments but also encouraging robust public participation. By strengthening these pillars, governments can uphold transparency, accountability, and integrity, thereby fostering a conducive environment for sustainable development and societal trust. 

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