CM Himanta gamifies ‘courtesy visits’ into ‘vaccine donation drive’

Individuals, groups and organizations often reach out to a new government leader to welcome them to office. Called a ‘courtesy visit’ in PR parlance, these visits may lead to nothing other than the fact that the new leader gets a hang of the new-found position and settles in.

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With the change of reigns in Assam after the assembly polls, the state’s new chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma used his sharp skills to ‘gamify’ these ‘courtesy visits’ into something very meaningful.

Sarma, who himself started his tenure with ‘courtesy visits’ to a number of top media organizations based in Guwahati, also came up with a “vaccine donation drive” which is going to help the government.

In a smart move, CM Sarma has initiated a donation drive for procuring COVID-19 vaccines which is going to help the state fight the pandemic.

The chief minister, who has been called a modern-day Chanakya of the Northeast, recently asked fellow citizens to donate to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund so that they too can ‘take pride’ in the fact that they helped the government in procuring vaccines.

Within days of his clarion call, the Chief Minister’s Office is now busy collecting cheques from various organizations, groups and individuals.

Simply put: Everyone wanted to meet the new boss. He just gamified it with the donation drive.

Sarma, in a press conference in Guwahati, had said that the state government is not in a financial crisis and will be able to fund the Rs 700-800 crore vaccination drive. “When the state government can increase its stake in Numaligarh Refinery Limited by investing Rs 2000 crore, we can surely provide funds for the vaccination drive. Through this donation drive, we just want to give you the opportunity to feel good about yourself that you too contributed for someone’s vaccination,” Sarma had said.

He added that through the donation drive, the state expects a total collection of not more than Rs 100-120 crore and the rest anyhow will be borne by the government.

Without any delay, right after the press conference, the chief minister allocated Rs 50 crore from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to the Assam Arogya Nidhi for procuring vaccines. Later, Sarma donated Rs 3 lakh from his own account to the relief fund as well.

Assam government is providing free COVID-19 vaccination to the people belonging to the 18-44 years age group. The state is bearing the cost of vaccination of these citizens. The central government is providing free vaccines for the 45+ category. Vaccination programme for under 18 is yet to be approved.


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About Jayanta Deka

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Jayanta Deka is a Guwahati-based journalist with more than 10 years of experience in journalism. Tracking new media, technology, startups and politics interest him. He can be reached through [email protected]

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