ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Odisha’s Transformation under the Naveen Patnaik Regime

Beleaguered Victim to Robust Warrior

A recent national survey on governance and performance in the pandemic times, has ranked Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the top in the popularity index among his counterparts. Taking over the battered, backward state in the aftermath of the 1999 supercyclone, Patnaik has transformed Odisha by erecting and ensuring a people-centric governance model. This welfare model has not only prepared Odisha to confront any disaster, including the current pandemic, but also improved governance in the state.


Two decades ago, a supercyclone ravaged Odisha, taking a toll on 10,000 lives and ruining the livelihood and shelters of millions. The beleaguered backward state was struggling hard for survival. A rudderless incumbent state government miserably failed in disaster governance; badly stung by popular anger, it lost legitimacy in no time. Naveen Patnaik’s ride to power soon after, to a great extent, was in a way the disaster’s gift to the state. Two decades later, under his leadership, a “New Odisha,” despite a resource crunch, confidently confronted a triple whammy—a killer global pandemic, reverse migration of a million destitute working-class people, and the supercyclone Amphan—as a frontline warrior state armed with a robust model of governance. Not surprisingly, a recent survey by ABP News C-Voter (Sambad English Bureau 2021) has placed Patnaik as the best chief minister in the country for his efficient governance.

COVID-19, the pandemic of the century, has rattled governance across the world, in both developed and developing nations. The Indian federal government, acting early and boldly, could manage to contain deaths and slowed down the spread of virus by a couple of months. Unfortunately, such significant gains were squandered away as it blundered in conceiving and executing a well-thought-through and well-coordinated anti-COVID-19 strategy, particularly triggering the tragic suffering of millions of migrants. Furthermore, the union government’s whopping and commendable `20 trillion rescue and revival package of the economy had received flak as it brought in more privatisation and next generation reforms by stealth and liberalised credit flows, rather than ensuring immediate cash flow to the distressed millions. In the midst of the union government’s governance crisis, small states like Kerala and Odisha showed remarkable resilience, resolve and governance skills in handling the COVID-19 crisis quite effectively.

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Updated On : 21st Feb, 2021
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