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The first 120 days 

The government has completed 120 days in office.

While attending a series of orientations, meetings and pleasantries did take much of the new government’s time, the first four months did see some changes.

The committee of secretaries was reconstituted. The pay commission was formed and the cut off point for class 10 students, while still controversial is now off. Schools are closed most Saturdays and tourism is getting a renewed focus.

Not all of these decisions are part of the government’s 25 pledges for 120 days. Some of these and the review of policies and plans were necessitated by the realities of being the government. Two issues that however, gobbled much time of the government in its first four months in office are related to our youth – the earn and learn programme in Japan and the removal of cut off point for class 10 students.

Where the government stumbled and was slow on acting on the controversial earn and learn programme, the pace of institutions such as the ACC, the RCSC and the OAG, it was as swift in implementing the decision to remove the cut off point.

The government claims that except for few, it has kept almost all 25 pledges. We believe that about six pledges could be considered achieved and the rest are still being pursued. For most, the outcomes are not visible yet but then the government had only pledged to initiate them. It has, if discussions and meetings could be understood as initiations. With popular pledges such as the Suung Joen app, removal of voucher tax and domestic maids not fulfilled, the government’s assessment in its 120 days in office is open to people for interpretation.

While the pledges for the first 100 or 120 days in office are made to drive a new government to demonstrate governance, to show it can keep its promises and deliver, it may also be idealistic to expect the fulfilment of all pledges. However, the performance of the government in their initial months in office comes under scrutiny because it sets the tone of how it would govern for the rest of their term. These transitions are times when momentum builds or dips and when opinions about the new leadership begin to crystallise.

The pledges, as quantifiable and narrow as they may be are used to hold governments accountable. Decisions, popular or otherwise are scrutinised to understand if the change in policies have caused the government to gain or lose credibility and if they have given people the change it promised.

The government said it has held 14 cabinet meetings to date and initiated reforms in various sectors.  Few changes are visible but many remains to be seen.

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