Tuesday, July 23, 2024

A suitable arrangement

When it comes to strengthening institutions or mechanisms that can bring in an element of accountability and minimize corruption the government of Nagaland has neither the will nor the capacity to do so. Successive governments in the state have allowed the pot of corruption to boil without even making a serious effort to keep it in check. Political leaders, especially when out of power, indulge in a lot of rhetoric in the context of their “vow” to fight corrupt practices but forget it when they are voted to power. And they have a vested interest to maintain the status quo. This suits both the politicians and bureaucrats who are interested in covering up for their individual and collective deeds of omission and commission. For their survival, they will never allow healthy institutions, which can keep their misdeeds under check to flourish. Institutions and mechanisms set up to maintain accountability and minimize corruption continue to be dead horses, which the men in power flog every time only for their own petty politicking. In spite setting up institutions and mechanisms in place to check corruptions, it had reached such an unprecedented level that one is no longer surprised to hear about scandals after scandals involving those in high office. Passing the buck, beating around the bush, finding alibis to defer, to prolong and finally to negate any reform in the existing system, perhaps stems from how our political class takes and treats it and gives its response publicly. In fact one will not be wrong to say that corruption has now become the overall state of things in Nagaland. Sure, past leaders may have failed the people in more than one ways, as we are wont to blame, because of their lack of vision or pure greed, but this does not mean that the present leaders did not get enough time to undo the wrongs done by the past leaders. And clearly, grumbling about only the missed opportunities without making any conscience effort to bring changes for the better cannot make the wrong right or it always cannot be the excuse. The basic purpose in dragging feet over the vital question of empowering institutions and enabling people to play a more participatory role in governance is to put all corrupt practices under the garbs. In pursuit of this every attempt is made to deny information to the people and making public men accountable. Important institutions that can be good mechanisms for bringing in accountability and transparency are ignored. But on the other hand frivolous institutions and boards are being strengthened and created mainly with a purpose to rehabilitate favourites and retired bureaucrats or the rejected politicians. Enormous money is being spent without helping the common masses with their day to day problems. Apparently the government has got its priorities all wrong. There is just no seriousness about changing the corrupt system. It suits many individuals who enjoy the petty benefits, pocketing hefty sums as commissions in various deals, projects and even effecting transfers of officers within the state administration. In fact today our society is contaminated by our public custodians’ personal preferences. Though they preach integrity, they lack the virtue. They perpetuate and patronize corruption at the top, middle and lower levels in pursuance of their own personal financial prosperity. The institutions totally crumble and the top heavy administrative apparatus becomes totally hollowed from within, despite its huge size. For the common masses, it just fails to exist. The basic issues of food security, health, water, electricity, roads and education play a subservient role to the larger politics of revitalizing a corrupt regime. All political parties, without any exception, are uninterested in breaking this vicious cycle. They all want to enjoy the crumbs of power and happily allow corruption and mismanagement to flourish. They all fail to take any effective measures while in power, out of power, they divert people’s attention by picking up non issues, or at best isolated cases of mal-administration, never questioning why important institutions have been ignored.