Saturday, July 20, 2024

Reform planning mechanism

It goes without saying that there is urgent need bring a healthy and the much needed transformation in the system governing our state. The rot is too deep and as such the 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 the developmental needs and aspirations of the state. However, the decision/ announcement, as expected, were followed by naught! There were expectations from the people that at least this time the ruling dispensation is serious to bring the required changes, leading to complete overhaul of the planning mechanism, which in turn would pave way for the much needed transformation of other governmental organs. Indeed every time the rulers made such announcement, there were hopes that the planning mechanism in the state will 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. Alas, all such announcements were in paper only and nothing moved forward. No wonder, our state has failed to reach the level of development as in other parts of the country. Compared to the rest of the states in India, our economic performance is at the bottom of the pyramid, despite the fact that our state is abundant with large and wide range of resource availability. Unfortunately we have failed completely to avail of its benefits because of default planning mechanism. Here 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, 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 existing planning apparatus in the state, 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 existing 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 the 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.