Change planning mechanism


We know nothing or only a little about the visionary traits of our politicians/ministers. The NDPP and BJP alliance came to power in the State some two months back on the plank of bringing change. The alliance was later bolstered with support from the NPP and JD (U) along with two Independents leading to the formation of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) Government in the State with three time chief minister Neiphiu Rio becoming the chief minister for the fourth time. After getting the mandate of the people to bring “change” in the State, it is but natural to expect some impressive initiatives from the present establishment. What is needed now is for the Government to go all out to bring a healthy and the much needed transformation in the system. No doubt the rot is too deep and as such entire system needs a complete overhaul. Be it administration, finance, planning or police – each and every sphere calls for exhaustive reforms. Without getting into intricacies of politics, the system which is expected to induce economic transformation and development in the State is in a sort of analytical paralysis owing to absence of proper planning mechanism in place. Over the years, it has become routine for the Government to make announcement to reorient the planning machinery of the State as per developmental needs and aspirations of the State. However, the decision/ announcement, as expected, were followed by naught! But with an experienced hand like Rio in control, we expect drastic changes leading to complete overhaul of the planning mechanism in the State, which in turn will pave way for the much needed transformation of other governmental organs. Hopefully under the new dispensation, the planning mechanism in the State shall be reoriented and reorganized which may induce enhanced accountability, professional efficacy, methodical planning, stringent monitoring and result oriented policy evaluation apparatus in the developmental progression of the State. We are aware that the existent structure has been in place for the past few decades, yet during this same period of time, the expectations, professional demands, technical leverages and responsiveness of the process have changed, requiring a higher standard of professionalism, enhanced technological leverages, advanced techniques and swift responsiveness. In alternate terms, planning was required to be a participative process coupled with highest degree of professionalism and reliability. However, the developmental planning in the State seems drifting further away from basic purpose of mass participation, specialization and consistency into the realms of economic numbers and financial budgets. Therefore, it has become necessary to adjust the method of planning, to connect professional skills of planners more strongly with developmental needs and aspirations of the State. The existent structural and organizational set-up need to be re-organized and functional domain also call for a complete re-orientation so as to induce enhanced accountability, professional efficacy, data quality augmentation, swift and stringent monitoring and result oriented policy evaluation in the system. Looking at the existent planning apparatus, it appears that innovation and rationale is stifled by a lack of professional autonomy, and consequently precious resources are wasted. The system is virtually crying for reforms for evolving a structure in which the wheels of development begin to mesh more smoothly, local governance institutions and small enterprises nurture effectively, livelihood opportunities are created along with community based solutions for addressing environmental/ social issues. Clearly there is a dire need for the planning machinery existent in the State to be reoriented in scientific manner at all levels. The role and responsibilities assigned to various levels involved in planning mechanism needs complete refurbishment coupled with requisite up-gradation so as to renovate planning machinery into systems reform apparatus in real terms. At the same time, the perennial upgrading and fine-tuning of professional skills is all imperative for efficacy enhancing of human resources. However, techniques which are in vogue for decades now in rest of world are still alien for state statistics and planning professionals. To induce advanced professional skills and swift responsiveness in the system, human resource development/ management mechanism must be revitalized from antiquated to vibrant one so that real professional skill up-gradation is achieved.