Vasundhara Raje as CM: Heralding in a new Rajasthan!
When a new Chief Minister takes oath, he or she has her task cut out. The nature and extent may wary but the first few months are very crucial in delivering good governance for the rest of the years ahead. When Smt. Vasundhara Raje took over, a lot of work was required to be done in Rajasthan. The state was lagging behind in nearly all sectors. Both economic and social indicators were not favorable. The resounding mandate of the people brought the BJP and Vasundhara Raje to power. Now it was time to deliver on the promises made to the people and turn the high expectations into a journey towards a developed Rajasthan.
For five years, Vasundhara Raje and the rest of the team focused on providing comprehensive and inclusive development to the people of Rajasthan. This included eliminating hunger, malnutrition, starvation and liberating people from the clutches of poverty. An important goal was to provide employment to enhance the economic condition of the people. The Government made it a priority to create economic infrastructure, human resource development, creating capabilities. Special focus was to be given to the disadvantaged. Being a woman, Vasundhara Raje was aware of the struggle women have to undertake. Thus, empowerment of women became a major focus area for the Government.
When the BJP came to power, Rajasthan’s physical infrastructure was crumbling. In a span of five years, over Rs. 7000 crore were invested in expanding the road network of Rajasthan and Rs. 8000 crore spent towards ‘Feeder Development Programme’ to curtail losses in the power sector. Multiple power generation units were started. In a drought prone state, canals work as the lifeline for farmers but for years no attention was paid to the canal networks. Smt. Vasundhara Raje took this up on a priority basis and allocated funds for canal system maintenance. A firm believer in Jan Bhagidari and integrating people in matters of governance, Vasundhara Raje was the force behind RIDCOR (Road Infrastructure Development Corporation Project), the first instance of working on PPP in Rajasthan. This opened up the rural economy, especially in the western part of Rajasthan.
During her tenure, the Rajasthan Mission on Livelihood was formed to provide skill training to the youth to enhance employability. She also set up the Rajasthan Knowledge Corporation to impart basic computer training to the youth. It was due to these efforts that made GENPACT (a BPO outlet) have its 3td largest BPO in Jaipur! The period saw leading firms ranging from Infosys, Wipro, Tech Mahindra, Deutsch Bank coming to Rajasthan. At the same time, under the ‘Rajasthan Education Initiative’ industry leaders such as CISCO, IBM NIIT, Microsoft and bodies such as the World Economic Forum and Global E-Schools joined hands to boost the education sector. Under Vasundhara Raje, the handicrafts and handloom sector were also revitalized.
Social sectors of Rajasthan received a boost under her governance. Several social sector Initiatives of her tenure include hot-cooked meals to pre-school children in Aanganwadis and insurance for Aanganwadi workers. Rajasthan became a model state for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Financial inclusion for BPL families became a reality! The BJP Government took the commendable step of computerization of Madarsas, which was widely appreciated.
In just 5 years of her tenure as the first Woman Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Smt. Vasundhara Raje was able to break hard-set mindsets in various areas of power fulfillment, poverty, women empowerment, agriculture and developmental infrastructure and bring about a positive change that Rajasthan saw for the first time.