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Proceeding Well

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The Dhami Government’s supplementary budget is quite obviously directed at the coming elections to the state assembly, but cannot be faulted for being over the top. This is obviously because of the resource constraints, requiring thereby some application of mind in targeting beneficiaries. The way things have proceeded thus far in the ongoing Monsoon Session also indicates that the new CM has matters well under control, even if some of his Cabinet colleagues continue to stumble during Question Hour. It seems answering legislators’ questions is considered somewhat a formality rather than a serious responsibility.

The Congress, for once, seems to be putting in a better effort at doing its job. The private member bills on withdrawing the Devasthanam Board Act, and on tightening the land law, are accurately targeted at issues with political traction. The government will have to walk a delicate tightrope to get past this challenge. If done well, it will shed light on its intentions regarding these sensitive issues.

It is also evident that the process of economic recovery from the worst ravages of the Corona Pandemic is gradually being put into place. However, as Congress MLAs have pointed out, resuming the Char Dham Yatra and other critical tourism activities are a must if people’s financial woes are to be addressed. Unfortunately, this matter has been taken out of the government’s hands by the Judiciary. Political and economic imperatives, thus, have to await clearance by the Court. It is fortunate that, with elections coming, the Centre will be more open to bolstering Uttarakhand’s finances.

Issues like handling of the pandemic and preparations for a possible third wave are going to be the opposition’s ammunition for the attack, but the present tapering incidence of the virus will provide the Treasury Benches a substantial counter. Coverage of session’s proceedings have been considerably hampered by Covid restrictions and the media, in particular, will be eager to see the last of the pandemic so that things can go back to normal. Presently, it has to focus more on activities outside the House, than inside it. Of particular note is the fact that the traditional bonhomie continues to be witnessed amongst Members of the House, unlike the bitterness being seen in other states in present times.