Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today announced the decision to raise the retirement age of State government officers and employees from 60 years to 62 years.
The announcement to raise the retirement age was made by the Chief Minister at a Meet the Press programme organised by the Central Press Club in the State capital. Chauhan was asked whether or not he was concerned about the plight of the State Government officers and employees who were are retiring without promotion due to a case pending in the Supreme Court of India. The case relates to the State Government’s policy to continue with reservation in promotion for SC/ST employees despite a Madhya Pradesh High Court order declaring this provision as unconstitutional. The case arises from an appeal by the State Government against the High Court order.
The Chief Minister said he hopes in next two years the Supreme Court verdict will be there and in this period those in service will be assured of promotion as the retirement age is being raised.
Today’s interaction between the Chief Minister and the media-persons has special significance as journalists were present in full strength to explore the focus and strategies of a leader, who doesn’t see any anti-incumbency sentiments among the people and is confident of their continuous support in the coming battle of the ballot. Wherever he goes in the State, the people rally around him and everyone calls him Mama (mother’s brother), he said adding he also doesn’t know who is going to challenge him (from the main opposition Congress side) in the coming election. Chouhan said, when he goes to the Gwalior region, they (the Congressmen) say Jyotiraditya Scindia will form the next government, In Jhabua- they talk of Bhuria (former Union Minister Kantilal Bhuria) while in Chhindwara, they were looking up at Kamal Nath.
Chouhan has won two successive elections as Chief Minister and was aiming for hat trick in the general election to the State Assembly later this year.
The journalists tried to grill the chief minister on the prevailing law and order situation in the State and wanted to know the Government’s stand on the proposal to introduce the Police Commissioner system. It is being examined, he stated and dispelled apprehensions that once this system gets introduced the Police will have over-riding powers, including powers to enter anybody’s for inspection. The Chief Minister said that the objective requirements relating to the State will be taken into consideration before implementing the police commissioner system.
The Chief Minister, responding to a pointed query, said that State Ministers would be given ticket for contesting the coming Assembly elections based on their popularity among the voters and performance.
Noting that the crisis of malnutrition in Madhya Pradesh can be traced back in history and admitting that the situation, particuilarly with regard to the Sahariya tribe, continues to pose a huge challenge, the chief minister said that a lot has been done under his regime and the situation is improving.
The Chief Minister told media-persons that currently, the irrigation area of the state is about 40 lakh hectare; the goal is to bring about 84 lakh hectare area under irrigation; and there is an investment proposal for Rs. 1.10 trillion till 2025.
The Chief Minister, spoke about his commitment to the cause of the farmers and said that the Bhavantar Yojana (scheme for payment of price difference for the farmer’s produce) which was started as a pilot project will now gain momentum with the Centre contributing its share to carry forward this scheme.
When the Chief Minister’s attention was drawn towards the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices and its composition, especially the fact that the two posts of non-official members in this important body, which gives recommendations to the Central government regarding the support price for farm produce, are lying vacant even after the Cabinet Secretary had interviewed farmers shortlisted for appointment as members in the year 2016, and he was asked whether he would intervene in this matter and ask the Central authorities to fill these posts with farmers’ representatives without wasting more time keeping in view the interest of the farmers, the chief minister said that he was not aware of this and gave the assurance that he would act after checking up the facts.
Chouhan rebutted queries pointing to dismal performance in terms of industrial growth and investment and said that there has been a 9 per cent growth in the industrial sector and investments also have been coming across a wide spectrum, including the automobile and textile sector.
The press meet began with everyone present standing in silence for two minutes to honour and remember the Bhind journalist Sandeep Sharma, who was run over by a dumper and killed last Monday after he had written to the police stating that there was threat to his life and had sought protection. He had been reporting about illegal sand-mining mafia. The Chief Minister later announced relief of Rs. 200,000 for his family. When intervened, he said that this amount would be raised.