Politicians and governments are notorious for their selective amnesia on the matter of promises made. Still, compliance with a commitment given in 1992 happening after 21 years is quite exceptional.
On April 8, 1992, late BJP MLA Hashu Advani had raised a question about regularising the sale of tenements in the state-owned refugee camps to third parties.
In his reply, the then minister of state for relief and rehabilitation Anantrao Thopte had said that the demand was under consideration.
As per the legislative rules it became an assurance and the concerned department was obligated to provide its compliance report to the state legislature’s committee on assurances.
But, the state revenue, relief and rehabilitation department forgot to offer its compliance report until the committee took a strong view over huge pendency of assurances. It was only earlier this year that the concerned department clarified its stand before the committee saying a number of refugees living in five camps have sold off the tenements without seeking prior permission and making payment to the government. No policy has been formulated to regularise such activities.
But, a policy on redevelopment of buildings in refugee camps was under consideration and such factors would be contemplated, the officials said.
The committee on assurances headed by NCP MLA Nawab Malik accepted this clarification while reviewing 38,615 assurances given by the state government since 1992. Highest pendency is with the urban development department headed by the chief minister and assurances were indeterminate for over 10 years.
As per the legislative rules, secretary level officials from concerned departments appear before the committee to offer the compliance reports.
When asked, Malik said a number of assurances were pending owing to lack of coordination between the concerned department and the parliamentary affairs department that works as a facilitator between the legislative business and the government. The present committee has in the last few months gone through all the undecided assurances and ensured significant fulfillment, he said.
In its 22nd and 23rd reports submitted during the recently concluded monsoon session of the state legislature, the committee on assurances has come down strongly on the tendency of providing vague answers that don’t match the specific assurance given by the minister, subsequent clarification by the department to the committee, and orders issued for compliance. So far, the committee has ensured fulfillment of over 36,000 assurances, Malik said.
No of promises that have been complied with, according to the committee on assurances
No of assurances given by the state government since 1992