Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Equitable development

We all know that development is not just an external thing but involves the internal well being of human beings – individual and collective. That is why there are finer details when it comes to the concept of development. Among these details is a concept of equitable development of all the regions of any administrative unit. It means whether a city, town or a village, the benefits of development should reach everywhere, and the amenities and facilities that are available to the people living in cities should be availed by the people living in towns and villages also. To this end governments must be made responsible for developing the towns and villages so the people living there do not lag behind in deriving benefits of the development activities of the government. In our case we are seeing a very disturbing trend of urbanization in the sense that people from villages and remote towns are consistently shifting their residences from their ancestral places to Dimapur city. Now this has led to problems on many fronts. The pressure on the land resource and also on the amenities provided by the government is immense. On the other hand there are societal problems that are going to pose challenges not just today but for decades to come. Looking at the big picture it is the duty of a government to ensure that people don’t need to shift from villages and towns to the cities like Dimapur and Kohima just for availing some amenities. If those facilities are provided to the people living in towns and villages, why would anyone choose to leave his ancestral place and live in an alien neighbourhood. If there are good schools in our towns and villages, if we have good higher education institutions in our towns, if we have good healthcare facilities in our villages, we can save people from the hardships of travelling long distances to avail such facilities. Above all it will make the fruits of development reach everywhere. The cities will not suffer because of over population and the people living in villages will be saved of the trouble of moving out from their places. Indeed the hallmark of modern day democratic states is that it finally finds its authentication in the people of that state. Howsoever the deterioration in the systems today, and whatever the level of criticism that the plummeting standard of governance have earned, it still remains a fundamental characteristic of a government that the people have to be taken care of, and their satisfaction in the matters of governance is always sought. The core of any governance structure in a modern democratic state is welfare of the people. If this core is not strong, and if the institutions of governance do not finally meet the needs of a people, it is bound to be a failure. Even the states that don’t fall in the category of democracy, the welfare of people are placed as a priority. All this means that any modern day states, or governments, lose the reason to exist, if they don’t take care of people – their security, their healthcare, their basic needs, and other matters. To fulfill this purpose the gap between the structures of governance and the people must be narrowed down. In fact the very idea of a gap between the officials and the people is a colonial construct. So sooner it is demolished the better. And if it is fully uprooted it brings joy to people. Unfortunately in the third world countries the colonial attitudes lived long after the colonial masters left this part of the world. Even now there are traces of the same attitude found in many of the offices, and the officers in our part of the world. The need of the hour is to change this atmosphere where people feel themselves to be at the mercy of an official. This defeats the very purpose of democracy of which the states like India are so proud. One of the ways to do away with the colonial hangover is to bring the officialdom closer to people. They should go to the villages and hear first-hand the problems faced by the people and deliver the same. Besides getting the people’s works done this initiative should instill a degree of confidence in the people, particularly in the far off villages, that they matter.