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‘Circulation’ keeps the government moving

Panjim: For the last three months, policy decisions have been taken via circulation, as the State cabinet has not met in the absence of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is undergoing treatment in the US. Through three circulations in the last 89 days, the cabinet accorded its approval to 23 items, including yet another extension for the offshore casino vessels to remain anchored in River Mandovi.

It will be exactly three months on Tuesday (May 22), since the last full-fledged State cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister took place on February 22, when it approved the Annual Financial Statement 2018-19 (State Budget) for Goa.

Days after that, Parrikar went back to Mumbai for treatment and was then shifted to the US for advanced medical treatment, where he continues to be even today. While it was earlier stated that the Chief Minister would chair a cabinet meeting via a video conferencing whenever required, this never happened.

To tide over the State’s affairs, the Chief Minister constituted a three Minister’s Cabinet Advisory Committee comprising Ministers Francis D’Souza, Ramakrishna Dhavalikar and Vijai Sardesai, which has met 12 times till date.

Post the Chief Minister’s departure for medical treatment, the first cabinet note for approval through circulation was on March 21, when the cabinet approved guidelines for payment of an additional three times compensation promised to people, whose lands were acquired for the Mopa international airport project.

The eight-points on the agenda included online registration with the employment exchange, apart from granting ex-post facto nod to extension of contractual appointments of 377 line helpers amongst others. Transfer of land to tourism department was also on the agenda.

On March 28, the cabinet through circulation accorded approval for extension of six months to offshore casino vessels in River Mandovi. The extension has been granted till September 30. The cabinet had four other items on the agenda which included contractual appointments and appointments of physiotherapists.

For a nearly a month after that, there was no cabinet decisions until April end, when the cabinet approved the Startup schemes. This time there were ten items to be considered, including approval for accepting implementation of recommendation made in the one-man commission report of Justice Padmanabhan Commission under the Labour Department.

The opposition Congress has been targeting the government over its failure to hold a cabinet meeting in the last three months, thereby resulting into a complete administrative collapse. “You see the decisions taken through circulations. Except for relief to casino operators, what has government done? This is what we call it administrative collapse,” Congress president Girish Chodankar said. [H]

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