Saturday, May 18, 2024

No governance

Editorial 2

The idea of governance has undergone tremendous changes over the years. The changes are happening too fast now as new trends emerge given the developments in technology. Unfortunately in our state the idea of governance, and the structures of governance, has not responded to the changes that have happened overtime, and over space. Today among others we have an ailing health care, underdeveloped tourism and hospitality sector and an obsolete education system. Our revenue system is the same that we had in the eighties. Here poor governance is neither an issue nor provokes any protest even though it might indirectly stoke popular unrest. This in turn has contributed to the growth of a polity that finds in this situation an escape from accountability. No state government feels itself obliged to perform. And corruption which is so rife doesn’t get anything beyond a lip service. Sure, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio regularly stresses on meritocracy and use of technology to combat governance challenges in the state. But this has not translated into reality. Our state would not be in the condition it is now if he had acted on his intent on good governance. Unless people are placed at the centre of governance, things cannot improve. Good governance cannot be achieved merely by making statements; instead it requires a multi pronged strategy of considerate administrative reforms, justice and equality in every aspect of governance. Sadly we are today in a state of confusion, which has put many imprints on administrative setup of the state, both adverse and introspective. Compassion towards common people seems to be a far cry and justice appears eluding almost every area of governance. A major reason why we face problems in many of our routine services is that our systems work on quick fixes and stop gap arrangements. This in turn gives rise to multiple problems. A cursory look at our governance will tell us that from the formation of policies to the execution of detail on ground there is a lack of coordination, and also an absence of continuity. We have seen how many development initiatives that could have benefitted people could not be completed because they were not followed to finish. Similarly there are many social welfare schemes that were rolled out with great expectations. But after some time we could see that the benefits are not reaching the target groups. The reason is that the concerned departments do not take up the matters related to execution of these schemes in a professional manner. On dealing with corruption and nepotism, many political dispensations in this state had earlier made long, but never lasting statements, under the influence of political euphoria. But all, including the present government, had so far failed to tame the monster of corruption, and nepotism remains unchecked. All have made corruption to flourish as an industry and nepotism to grow for their political survival. If it won’t amount to exaggeration, their main instrument of governance was corruption and nepotism. Governments in recent past tried their best to jump on the bandwagon of anti-corruption but failed miserably as their own political arrangement were severely plagued with the virus of corruption. Inability to contain ugly elements of dishonesty and many other political compulsions made them eat humble pie in the darkness of ambiguity. No wonder today corruption has engulfed not only the organization of governance and administration but the whole society of ours is corrupt in one way or the other. Here we must understand that democracy transforms from an idea to reality only when in the institutions of governance people constitute the core content, and policies and practices are subservient to public interests. Two areas are very crucial here. One, training officers and official staff on how to relate with people who visit their offices, and how to ease things for them. A psychological overhauling is needed to make any worthwhile changes on ground. We, as a society, have been raised up with ideas and attitudes that finally come in the way of an efficient and compassionate relation with people. This mindset must undergo a change. Second, technology must be utilized fully, and in an unhindered way. If human interference is minimized, and processes are tech-driven, perhaps we can experience a revolution in governance.