Skip to main content

Climate change, environment last priority of Gujarat govt, MLAs: 'performance' report

By Rajiv Shah* 

Despite official propaganda, in a significant revelation, MLAs of the Gujarat state legislative assembly and the Gujarat government appear to be totally indifferent towards issues related with environment and climate change, a study by two advocacy groups, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP), released in Ahmedabad, has said.
The study, titled “Performance Report of Members of Legislative Assembly Gujarat”, seeking to analyse questions asked the the Gujarat assembly by MLAs, finds that out of 38,121 starred and 10,224 unstarred questions for which answers were sought from various Gujarat government departments over the last five years, only 55 starred and just three unstarred questions related with climate change.
The Gujarat government – which formed climate change department with great fanfare when Narendra Modi was state chief minister – appears to be equally indifferent towards the questions related with climate change. Thus, out the 55 starred questions related with climate change, the state government rejected 28 of them, and refused to answer the remaining 27 questions.
The indifference on the part of the state government stands out against the backdrop Modi taking "keen interest" climate change by authoring a book on it in 2010. Called "Convenient Action: Gujarat's response to Challenges of Climate Change", the book was criticised for being a collection of press notes issued by the state government, said to have been put together in book form by a Gujarat cadre IAS official, who now serves in the Prime Minister's Office. 
The study, which found that the highest number of starred questions related with agriculture and cooperatives (4,343) followed by industries and mines (3,374), and law and order, a home department subject (2,851), gives no reason why climate change is the least priority of the MLAs or the government.
The study, which is heavily loaded with government data, refusing to consider the attitude of MLAs towards issues related with religion, caste and the Constitution which nag the nation today, confines its analysis of the MLAs on the ground to the amount they spent in MLAs’ Local Area Development Fund Scheme (MLA LADS) -- worth Rs. 1.5 crore each. The MLAs’ “development activities” are to be cleared by district Planning Boards.
Stating that Rs 1,365 crore budgetary allocation was made over the last five years for the scheme, the study says, “In Gujarat works worth Rs 1,004.15 crore were recommended by MLAs during 2017-22, out of which Rs 849.64 were released and Rs 677.5 crore were spent till March 2022. This amounts to 67.47% of the total sanctioned amount. Only 76 % of the works were completed.”
Analysing the use of the MLA funds in tribal areas (in Dang, Narmada, Valsad, Tapi, Bharuchh, Panchamahals, Dahod, Mahisagar, Chhotaudepur, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, and Aravalli districts), the study says, out of Rs 252 crore funds made available, work worth Rs 230.37 crore was sanctioned, and only Rs 177.40 crore was spent.”
The study, heavily loaded with government data, refuses to consider attitude of MLAs towards religion, caste, Constitution which nag the nation today
A third criterion assessed in the study – number of times MLAs spoke in the Gujarat state assembly – shows that “95% (172) out of 182 MLAs participated for less than 50 times during the last five years in any discussions, despite their attendance in the state assembly.” Of this, it added, “36% (66) participated for less than 10 times.”
Answering a Counterview question as to why issues related with religion, caste, Constitution, etc. find no mention in the study, and whether these are not considered part of performance or democratic reforms, ADR founder Jagdeep S. Chhokar, former faculty, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, said, any analysis of these issues was bound be “subjective” in nature.
“We do not analyse subjective data. While there is scope for discussion on these issues, and opinions are bound to differ. Hence, we confine ourselves to objective data”, he asserted, justifying the use of government data alone while taking up issues analysing the MLAs’ “performance”.
Pankti Jog of MAGP and Gujarat coordinator, ADR, however, told Counterview that a major reason why caste, religion and Constitution-related issues, important as they were, could not be touched upon was, “We do not have enough resources to gather data on the ground level.” She agreed, “ADR should have made public the methodology of the study.” Added Major General (Rtd) Anil Verma, head, ADR, “Elsewhere, we have analysed hate speech as an issue.”
---
*Editor, Counterview

Comments

all men on stage. we need women ministers in gujarat to bring the issue of environment and climate change.

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.