Friday, 07 January 2022 | Gajendra Singh Negi
The Dhami government which at present is deeply engrossed in dishing out doles to various sections of the society just ahead of the assembly elections is bending over backwards to appease those covered under the social security schemes. Seeing things with the eyeglasses of getting electoral gains the government is especially concerned about those who receive the Old Age and the Widow pensions. The concern stems from the sheer number of these beneficiaries- there are 4,64,712 old age pensioners and 1,84,76 recipients of widow pension- the Dhami government increased the pension twice in less than a week. In the cabinet meeting held on the last day of the year 2021 the cabinet increased the pension to Rs 1,400 from 1,200 and later further increased it to Rs 1,500 in its very next meeting. It appears that the Dhami government got bogged down by the utterances of Harish Rawat on pension and affected two consecutive increases but it should remember that 18 different types of pensions failed to prevent the ship of Congress party steered by a wily captain like Harish Rawat from sinking in the last assembly elections.
The mandarins running the education department which is the biggest in terms of the manpower in the Himalayan state seem to operate in isolation and remain oblivious of things happening around it. In the latest of its myopic decisions the department ordered that all the primary schools of the state which were operating for only three hours in a day to reduce the risk of exposing kids to the virus of Covid-19 should now remain open for the full five hours. The order came when the spurt in Covid-19 cases are giving an indication that the third wave of the pandemic has well and truly set in the country. This decision appears even more incongruous when seen in the light of the fresh Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Uttarakhand government on the same day which insists that the children below 10 years of age should be kept in the safety of their homes. After receiving a bashing from all quarters the Babus of the department were forced to take back the foolish decision.
With his political maneuvers a powerful cabinet minister of Uttarakhand is keeping camps of both the Congress and BJP guessing. The stage is all set for the battle of the assembly elections in the state with all the major political parties having blown the election bugle and the warriors bracing themselves for the big fight no one knows from which side this battle hardened combatant would enter the electoral battlefield. Recently he increased the pulse of the saffron party by storming out of the cabinet meeting and was able to have his way on the issue of medical college in his constituency. When everyone was under the impression that he had been placated, a lady considered very close to him joined the bandwagon of the Congress party. The political pundits point out that the powerful politician is engaging in a hard bargain with both the camps and would be with the side which will offer his pound of flesh.