Aristotle had said: Well begun is half done. The proverb deems fit in the case of newly-formed government in Punjab, if we go through the 125 decisions Captain Amarinder Singh’s Cabinet took on Saturday.
Just two days after taking over Punjab’s reins, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh played a masterstroke to win the hearts of masses. The announcement of Cabinet decisions came as a strong infusion of positivity in the general public that was irked by the VIP culture in the state for past sometime.
Trying to calm the nerves of masses, Amarinder’s Cabinet decided to shed the decades’ old practice of putting beacons atop the vehicles to make the rider have a feeling of being a VIP. The Cabinet withdrew the entitlement of bureaucrats, MLAs, ministers and even the Chief Minister to use beacons atop their vehicles.
Interestingly, acting quickly on the Cabinet decision on the VIP culture, and without waiting for a formal notification in this regard, Chief Minister and his council of ministers stripped their vehicles of their red beacon lights by Sunday morning.
Further, finding drugs and corruption as major election issues, Amarinder’s Cabinet decided to constitute a Special Task Force to check the two menaces. As the commoners as well as the transporters were all fed up with the wrong practices of transport department at district level, Punjab Cabinet also abolished the DTO system by handing over the job to SDMs across the state. Further, elimination of the controversial halqa in-charge system, decreasing the liquor quota and number of vends in the state have also been seen as the major reformative steps the Cabinet decided to take.
Going on a spree of announcements, Cabinet also decided to put a ban on foreign travel of all Ministers, MLAs and official state government expense for two years, with certain exceptions. Introduction of transparency in the salary, allowances and reimbursements of all MLAs has also been announced, with further declaring that all MLAs and MPs would also declare their immoveable properties on annual basis.
To cut the burden on state exchequer, the Cabinet also decided to bring the reimbursement of medical expenses, including foreign medical bills of all MLAs, Ministers, ex-Ministers and the Chief Minister, under Medical/Health Insurance.
Also adopting some experiments of AAP MPs, the Cabinet decided not to put the name of any minister on the foundation and inauguration stones with also announcing that the whole credit would be given to taxpayers by stating that the project came with their money only.
Opting for austerity measures, the Cabinet also decided that no state banquets or dinners would be held (at government expense) except few dignitaries of high status. Further the revision of reservation for women in jobs also came as a welcome decision.
The decisions of Amarinder’s Cabinet got so much appreciation from all around that even his predecessor also hailed the move on Sunday and wished him luck to fulfil them without any delay. Though the former CM Parkash Singh Badal claimed that some of the decisions were just cosmetic ones, stating that the SAD-BJP government had also introduced such system in its tenure, there was hardly any condemnation in his statement.
Anyways, while going through the pace of Amarinder Singh’s government that shifted nearly 100 civil and police officials across the state immediately after taking over the charge and then deciding around 125 things of which many were directly related to common man’s sentiments, I personally feel that Amarinder’s team had completed the whole ground work much before the formation of the government.
Having smelt the atmosphere in power corridors, it is learnt that a battery of bureaucrats, loyal to Captain Amarinder Singh, under the leadership of retired IAS officer Suresh Kumar, whom he re-engaged as his Chief Principal Secretary, played a key role in drafting the things well in advance. Further, among the members of his council of ministers Manpreet Singh Badal was the man who is learnt to be deeply involved in framing such policies.
Now, when the whole picture is painted rosy, I personally opine that public should enjoy the freshness in the air, but at the same time also hold some patience before getting judgemental about anything. As things are happening at too high a speed, one must wait for the actual deliverance system coming into existence, keeping in mind that ‘promises are made to be broken and lies are meant to be kept.’
Withholding our prejudices against anyone, let’s give some time to Amarinder’s government for launching operations and pray for the expected results with minimum flaws.
The way Captain Amarinder has started his innings, it indicates that things were chalked out well before the formation of government