KL This Week: Kerala Becomes First State to Achieve 'Total e-Governance'
Image by R Prakash
NewsClick brings you a round-up of important developments from across the state in the last week – including the declaration of the state as totally e-governed, opposition to cuts in the borrowing of the state government, the plan to ensure digital connectivity to around 1,200 tribal hamlets and the Travancore Devaswom Board’s (TDB) ban on activities of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's (RSS) in temple premises.
RANKED FIRST IN THE HEALTH INDEX
The NITI Aayog has ranked Kerala as the number one state in the annual health index ranking published for the year 2020-21. Tamil Nadu and Telangana were among the top three of the 19 big states in the ranking. The ranking published was for the years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.
The fifth report of the Niti Ayog, which was due to be published in December 2022, is yet to be made public. The ranking is prepared based on the achievements of respective state governments in 24 different health performance indicators.
Of the 19 big states, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been ranked 17th, 18th and 19th respectively. Tripura has topped the list of eight small states, while Manipur occupies the bottom spot. Lakshadweep tops the list of union territories, with Delhi being ranked as the worst-performing UT.
‘TOTAL E-GOVERNANCE IN KERALA’
The chief minister of Kerala declared on May 26 that the state is totally e-governed, and is the first to achieve the status in the country. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government since 2016 has been implementing the digitisation of several government services and focusing on digital literacy to ensure that the people can avail the services.
The e-sevanam platform provides 900 different government services to the public, ensuring the speedy processing of applications at different levels. The government has already made available around 7.5 crores certificates through the e-district online services.
The new e-sevanam platform will provide services including applications for social service pensions, permits for vehicles, approval from civil supplies, motor vehicles and land revenue departments, farm equipment purchases for farmers, and student services.
DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY TO TRIBAL HAMLETS
The LDF government has planned to extend digital connectivity to all the tribal hamlets across the state by the end of the year. Of the 1,284 tribal hamlets across the state, 211 are yet to receive digital connectivity.
The BSNL will provide the services to the hamlets as per the decision taken during the discussion with the SC/ST welfare department. Land identification for the installation of mobile towers is expected to be completed by July 15.
The minister for SC/ST Welfare, K Radhakrishan, stated that the identification of land for the erection of 161 towers will be completed in consultation with the residents of the hamlets.
OPPOSITION TO BORROWING LIMIT CUTS BY UNION GOVT
The borrowing limit of the government of Kerala has been reduced to Rs 15,390 crores for the ongoing financial year. The announcement has come as a shock, as the Union government had earlier considered granting permission to the state government for borrowing Rs 32,442 crores for the financial year, but has now slashed it by Rs 17,052 crores.
The finance minister, K N Balagopal, has expressed shock over the intimation from the Union government without specifying any reason for the drastic cut. The Union government had earlier reduced the borrowing limit from 3.5% of the GDP to 3%.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government for suffocating the finances of Kerala “with a political vendetta”.
TDB BANS RSS ACTIVITIES ON TEMPLE PREMISES
The TDB has instructed the temples under its control to ban the drills and training of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) inside the premises. The recent circular was issued considering the adherence to the earlier order restricting such activities inside the temples under the TDB.
The circular insists on conducting temple festivals and other temple-related activities on the premises and advises the officials in charge to report on non-compliance of the order passed.
The CPI(M) and the LDF have consistently opposed RSS’s activities inside temples. The parties in the LDF have been accusing the RSS and other Sangh Parivar organisations of using places of worship to propagate their agenda and attempting to damage the religious harmony in the state.
The steps to ban RSS activities in temples began as soon as the LDF won the elections in 2016 following repeated complaints from different sections of the society.
FIRE ACCIDENTS IN WAREHOUSE OF MEDICAL SERVICES BOARD
A major fire accident in the warehouse at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram owned by the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited has resulted in the death of one fireman engaged in extinguishing the fire.
In the previous week, a similar accident happened in a warehouse in Kollam district leading to a reported loss of drugs and chemicals worth Rs 8 crores.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.