On October 2, the Odisha government will roll out ‘Mo Sarkar’ (My Government), easily the most ambitious plan Naveen Patnaik has launched in his five terms in office to ensure the accountability of public officials in delivery of government services. Based on five parameters—team work, technology, transparency, transformation and time limit (the 5Ts)—the scheme involves taking feedback from people on the quality and timeliness of the services and reward or punish officials on that basis. Three of the 5 Ts existed in the Naveen government’s previous term too; the last two were added recently. Police stations and government hospitals have been taken up in the first phase of the programme, which is to be gradually extended to other services.
A Department of 5T has been created to carry out the initiative under the CM’s direct supervision. The charge of this newly created department has been given to the man who is believed to have the CM’s eyes and ears: his trusted private secretary V. Karthikeyan Pandian. The CM will flag off the new initiative by calling up visitors to police stations and hospitals, selected randomly, and get their feedback on the quality of services they receive and the way they are treated in these establishments.
While it is too early to measure its impact on accountability, it has certainly raised expectations among people. “Since the CM himself is monitoring the exercise, I am hopeful the officers would be more responsible and responsive now,” says Gouranga Charan Das, a senior citizen in Bhubaneswar. Adds Chakradhar Swain, a carpenter living in the Salia Sahi slum in the city; “When I went to lodge a complaint at the police station recently, I felt the difference in the officer’s behaviour.”