Sunday, April 11, 2021

No Vigilance

Notwithstanding Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s loud-mouthed rhetoric about fighting and eradicating corruption in Nagaland, not many believes his anti-corruption drive any more, with corruption and other malpractices rampant in the State. The levels of corruption in higher-echelons of Government are largely known to the general public, for they have to face it on daily basis. Regularly one or the other organizations are removing the lid from a stinking cesspool of corruption and politico-bureaucratic nexus in the State, which is ever busy in loot and plunder here. Reeking of the gutter might be a reason for the discomfort of present ruling elite, but its foul smell has become unbearable for the hapless common people. Both moral and material corruptions, which are rampant here, reflect the decay of mind. Indeed over the years the political system has been rendered totally ineffective by the entry of the unscrupulous in the Government and the legislature. We have seen how those in power had tried and are trying to brush away scams under the carpet even when proof of financial misconduct and irregularities are staring in the face. With such fraudulent antics of the rulers coming to fore, a political turmoil and upheaval would have gripped the entire State if Government had even an iota of credibility among the people. Apart from ill-equipped and poorly qualified (in terms of ethics and mannerism) people entering the system, there is an inherent problem with the system itself. No man-made system can be perfect, and obviously democracy is far from being perfect. The ills of democracy are too many. In an adult franchise of ‘one vote one person’, even the lunatics, clowns, sycophants, mass-murderers, thieves, criminals, and people of doubtful integrity can elect and can get elected. Moreover, in this part of the world people do not vote to elect someone for merit, suitability or uprightness; people simply vote on the basis of kinship, community or financial gain during elections, which make it possible for people with dubious credentials to be the masters of masses’ destiny. After elections are over, when anyone becomes the Chief Minister, they usually make some tall claims about eradicating corruption and promote transparency, accountability and good governance in the State. And Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is not the exception. He also promised the same in his first three consecutive terms as Chief Minister starting 2003 till 2014 and again when he became the Chief Minister for the fourth time in 2018. However, today it is clear that whatever was said was just political rhetoric and shrill cry even though it attracted a lot of public attention. People were ready to give him the benefit of doubt – maybe he genuinely believes what he professes. However, with the experience of hindsight now after over one and half years of his rule in the current term, one can safely assume – either he was naïve and did not know the dynamics of the problem fully or he was simply bluffing. Had Rio really meant business, just a cursory look around his cabinet colleagues, would have made him understand that barring few, most of them do not justify their position in his cabinet. But the fact that he is putting up with the tainted, infers that he too is either part of the rotten system and lure of the high office has a great gravitational pull for him, or he is too weak a person to usher in any structural change. A rotten and malignant establishment cannot produce a benign system. There is dire need for a complete restructuring. Meanwhile the State Government this year appears not to be observing the Vigilance Awareness Week, which began on October 28 and continue till November 2. In the past years, the Governor and the Chief Minister never failed to issue messages on the need to eradicate corruption and embrace transparency, accountability and good governance on Vigilance Awareness Week, but this year they must have forgotten, since vigilance anyway is not a priority for the rulers here. There was also no directive from the State authorities to Government departments and offices to observe Vigilance Awareness Week, and so there have been no reports of Vigilance Awareness Week observation in the State Secretariat or in Government offices, except central Government offices and some PSUs. Apparently the State Government have now realised the futility of observing the Vigilance Awareness Week every year as a ritual when they are not even serious about it.