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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Plug loopholes 

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 13:35
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Chief Minister TR Zeliang has recently said that he has put in place a system to check corruption in the State and had made a passionate appeal for support to eradicate the peril of corruption. This is a welcome step, although we have to wait and see the outcome. This is because it is not the first time our leaders, including the past and present chief minister, who had made such statements to fight corruption, with nothing happening on the ground. In our part of the world corruption is typically described and categorized as financial bungling. However, in true sense and meaning, every act of favour and patronizing that leads to someone's unjustified rise is corruption. In a democracy where people are the fountainhead of power, politicians as custodians of people's power have an enormous responsibility to ensure an honest system of governance. But for the past several decades, a section of our politicians both at national and state level have promoted a different version of avaricious politics that gives more emphasis on political constituency than people. And to run this shoddy version of politics, corruption is the mantra of excellence. Without generalizing, many unscrupulous elements in different sections of the administration likewise had joined hands and collaborate with the corrupt. Interestingly, the antidote against corrupt and nepotistic malignancies always evolves within the system itself and the idea of accountability and transparency through different Acts during last more than a decade was a wonderful political and administrative initiative to curb corruption and nepotism. But these were not to be, at least in our part of the world. From backdoor appointments to double drawal of funds for the same project, PDS scam, the Pillai scam, etc, we have seen it all. Perhaps if the chief minister is serious and true to his word to contain corruption, the first step he should initiate is to locate and isolate the moles and sleeper cells of corruption within the administration. Secondly the shortcomings and administrative gaps that create room for corruption to creep into the administration and allow the deep-rooted corruption mafia to have their day require to be addressed on priority. The biggest flaw with our administration is that it very often either by choice of undesired elements or by default chooses to ignore or circumvent its own set rules and guidelines to implement government policies and programmes. For long state's premier anti-graft agency, state vigilance organization had been lying idle for varied  reasons from lack of manpower to funds. This need to be immediately corrected. The most vital instruments of governance, the government employees most of the time suffers for want of proper human resource management mechanism. In almost all government departments except at State's seat of power - the civil secretariat, no service rule is fully operational. The selective implementation of set norms and service rules has not only created a sense of insecurity and disgruntlement within thousands of employees but created a promotion and transfer menace within the administration. As pointed out, several times deviation from rules is wilful and intentional to provide undue career promotion to favoured few. Anyone trying to oppose such move within the framework of law is very craftily victimized to the end. Today every institution of this unfortunate State reeks of political interference, bias, injustice and a never-ending race between officers and bureaucrats to please their political masters and their families. And these families have their own set of favourites - in businessmen, bureaucrats, contractors, lessees, police officers, Government employees, etc. Even hoodlums - yes each political party has its own set of favourite and favoured hoodlums and criminals. When they come into power, in a process that is internally and externally rife with nepotism and despotism - they make the entire Government work for the chosen clique of favourites. They foist incompetent and inexperienced individuals to head the institutions of the State (even technical ones) as political favours to "loyal" individuals who constitute this loyal clique. If anyone voices out against it, they find themselves in the middle of a vortex of coercion and conspiracies. Clearly unless these loopholes are plugged properly, the monster of corruption will haunt us. If the chief minister, during the few months remaining of the current tenure, manage to get the corruption down even by few notches that will be a great achievement and a commendable initiative.


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