Corrupt State


Does the Government of Nagaland consider corrupt practices as unlawful, morally unjustifiable and in totality unacceptable with zero tolerance? If it is so, then what mechanism or a system of watch and vigilance is in active mode to bring the doers in various departments and State public sector undertakings (PSUs) under the radar of strict watch and vigil with intent to identify, expose and punish them. The State has no dearth of legislative and statutory provisions and procedures to deal with such eventualities firmly but what is missing is the mindset and the administrative will to deal with the sensitive issue. We have the State vigilance commission rules which are in the least invoked and, more or less, have remained in a state of dormancy; same being the case with the institution of the vigilance commission in itself. State leaders from the chief minister to ministers and top bureaucrats continue to claim that we have in place a system to check corruption, but clearly this system appears not to be working. Or do these leaders mean that the system to check corruption is active but their work is not visible since there is no corruption in the State? Over the years we have been repeatedly told by different rulers that the State is serious to fight and eradicate 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 State. From backdoor appointments to double drawal of funds for the same project, numerous scams, etc, we have seen it all. The State government if it is seriously against corruption must first locate and isolate the moles and sleeper cells of corruption within the administration. It should also address, on priority, 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. 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 the state’s premier anti-graft agency has been lying idle for varied reasons from lack of manpower to funds, and 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 the 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. 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! Unless these loopholes are plugged properly, the monster of corruption will haunt us.