As clearly stated by NCSA and NPSA, the present encadrement arises due to historical circumstances, insurgency and Naga political conflict, and it has been practised since four decades so I have to humbly agree to disagree on their pretext. It is a fact that Nagas in general and Naga officers in particular suffered untold miseries during the prolonged law and order problem. However, we have much more advanced social, political and economic institutions than those of the olden times and it’s not wise to express that we are still plagued by the historical circumstances. “The human lives move forward but never drift backward” – quoted. We can find the lessons from the historical epitomes, and cultivate our humility as a by-product of this process, and to discern why but not just exhibit it through the cherry-picking of paragons. Learning about the past does not mean dwelling on or repeating excessively in it, but revise it, learn from it, and to identify the correct rhyme for the betterment of our present and future.
Historical stage of the civil servants in Nagaland holds so much information, value, wisdom and experience that the present bureaucrats may not ever accumulate in their entire service careers. The past NCS and NPS officers did exemplary tasks in shaping and moulding the administrative system in spite of all odds and death threats. The present NCS and NPS officers are no exception to their predecessors, perhaps even incomparable. Most of the present NCS and NPS officers are serving at the rural or remotest location by sacrificing their personal life and family hardship, but performing a commendable job in public services. They have been delivering public service agencies with the highest integrity and devotion to duty. Of course, we do have capable and competent NCS and NPS officers, whose deep knowledge in Naga history, cultures, traditions and customs are required to effectively deal with the public in all aspects. However, the service of government servants is regulated by the service rules and strict compliance of the rules is the core function for civil servants to develop efficient public service. Deviation from the rules would bring public service to a halt or even invite legal course of action and it should be discouraged at all levels for transparency and accountability in public service delivery.
In line with the IAS (cadre) service rules, the power is not vested with the state government to violate the rules at its own discretion, except to strictly comply with it. The IAS (cadre) service rules is governed by the All India Services (AIS) Act, 1951 and there is standard procedure for modification or annulment of rules therein. If the State government is not satisfied with the rules, the State shall report full facts and proposals to the Centre for modification or amendment of existing rules, if any. This is also reiterated in the clarification of the IAS (cadre) service rules, 1954. In the light of aforesaid grounds, four decades was perhaps enough for the State government and bureaucrats to persuade the Centre for modification of IAS cadre posts in respect of Nagaland state. As affirmed by NCSA, some NCS (cadre) officers held even Chief Secretary post and to be precise, the proposal for modification of the existing rules/policies is formulated by the State executive decision-making body and the top echelons of bureaucracy (mainly Chief Secretary at the state level). They have significant roles to add their own knowledge and insight on the issues, and are extensively involved in preparing explanatory memorandum and justification for modification on the operation of existing rules. Perhaps, we inadequately failed to strike while the iron was hot but it’s never too late to adopt alternative strategies without contravening the rules.
On the present issues of the officers disappearing during emergencies; neglecting official duties; unauthorized absence or unpermitted headquarter leave, the problem lies within the state government, top echelons of bureaucracy and controlling officers – on their failure to implement strong and stringent government services (Discipline & Conduct) rules to all the government servants evenly – which gives no room for the wrongdoers to escape. We have so many Naga central government servants (IAS/ IPS/ Group A services /Subordinate services) serving in different States/Union Territories of India with utmost dedication and productive services. Their disciplines and conducts are strictly governed by the services (conduct) rules of the respective state government/ ministry/ department and they become an asset of that particular organization rather than a liability. So, why the same yardstick can’t apply to central government servants in Nagaland? Is the Nagaland government servants (conduct) rules also true in paper but not true in practice? The public are eagerly waiting to know the official statement on these issues without any further argument.
Lastly, I do agree with the NCSA’s and NPSA’s statement on improvement of the present law and order situation, as in assessing the present situation in relation to the past, Nagaland state is largely peaceful. Nagaland state even bagged twice the “Best performing small state award” in the category of law and order for the year 2018 & 2019 and this is a milestone achievement in the chronological struggles for the state government, administration, police personnel and the law enforcing agencies. On the other hand, we are far cry to tackle corruption, favouritism, nepotism, bribery, embezzlement, maladministration, extortion and illegal taxation – which are the major impediments to developmental activities in the public services. Perhaps, the opinion of an individual cannot be right even if it is based on truth, fact, knowledge, rule, act, law but as we are well aware, the public today is not the same as yesteryears. The public are au courant with the government laws, acts, rules, guidelines and policies in comparison to most of the government servants. As the government servants gain more experience and wisdom during their services, the knowledge and wisdom of the public also grow with the changes of time. The public judgement on governance depends on, by and large, the qualitative and quantitative improvements in developmental aspects. The public today wants the provision of public services to be efficient, responsive and fair. However, in a nutshell, the entire responsibilities depend on the government and its machinery, and thus, I, on behalf of the public, leave these issues to the discretion and wisdom of the state government in the same manner as NCSA and NPSA.
Ghunavi G Kinnimi Sumi
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