The Congress has come back to power in the State after a gap of seven years. The ministers who assumed office at the State secretariat, Vidhana Soudha, were brimming with ideas and eager to take their departments forward.
Some of the ministers shared their priorities and expressed the line of thought concerning their respective departments on their first day in office.
Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Kimmane Rathnakar said his first priority would be to ensure timely availability of textbooks and uniforms for school students at the start of the academic year. The minister said he had sought a report from all the block education officers (BEOs) in this regard. Rathnakar said the government was committed to ensuring basic amenities and adequate infrastructure at all schools in the State.
The shortage of teachers in schools would be addressed on a war-footing. He also promised to tackle the menace of donations with an iron hand, and said experts would be consulted to improve the quality of education imparted in schools.
On the BJP’s alleged saffronisation of education, Rathnakar said he would not allow the ideology of any party to intrude into textbooks.
Minister of State for Medical Education Sharanprakash Patil said he has convened a meeting of private managements on May 22 to discuss the implications of the recent Supreme Court order on conducting entrance tests for admissions to medical and dental courses.
He said the government would keep the interests of the students in mind before arriving at any decision. Patil said he would conduct surprise checks on government hospitals and ensure a corruption-free administration.
Food and Civil Supplies
Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao told reporters that steps are being taken to launch the Congress government’s flagship programme of providing rice at Rs 1 per kg for BPL families from June 1.
The department was also taking measures to ensure that food grains meant for the scheme are not diverted to black market. The scheme was meant for the poor. The department would not leave any stone unturned to ensure its effective implementation, he said.
There were complaints of eligible people not getting ration cards, both BPL and APL. “Measures would be taken to solve this problem,” he added.
Home Minister K J George spoke about the need to bring in reforms in the police department. Decisions in this regard will be taken after consulting the chief minister.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil said he has spoken to Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and that he had assured to extend full cooperation for the effective implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in the State.
Cooperation Minister H S Mahadev Prasad said he would take steps for conducting elections to all cooperative societies on time. While, Water Resources Minister M B Patil said he would accord top priority to completion of all on-going irrigation projects, Housing Minister M H Ambareesh said his dream was to make the State “slum-free” in the next couple of years.
Transport minister Ramalinga Reddy said all four ministers from Bangalore would hold a meeting with senior officials of the BWSSB, Water Resources department and Urban Development department on the looming drinking water crisis in Bangalore.
The meeting will be held at Vidhana Soudha at 11 am.