Monday, May 27, 2024

Unfortunate state

It has been said that there are two ways a government starts its tenure – it either starts by working within the contours of a structure that is flawed or exhibits the political will to reform administrative structures that have failed to be channels of effective governance and development. Tragically all past governments in our State, including the present one, have gone with the first option – of defining good governance as more ribbon cuttings and inaugurations. In treading the path of survival and paranoia, the government has invested all its efforts in battling controversies, anti-incumbency and the paralyzing grease that comes with a system that is carved out to fail, a bureaucracy that is in a default mode of caution and apprehension. During the last decades, India has seen a number of follow-up policies, reviews and reforms in infrastructure, economy, healthcare, education, agriculture and social welfare – progressively moving away from a pre-90s nationalized core to an increasingly liberalized economy. The education sector is witnessing drastic changes towards productive, systematic and efficient system of education. There is revamp of existing healthcare infrastructure aiming at capacity building and reform. Many states have gone 10 paces ahead of the central government initiatives by actually revamping and reorganizing the way a government functions – in dealing with investment, growth and day-to-day governance. Nagaland, thanks to years of misrule and mis-governance that continues to this day, has been left out of this story – suffocated in never-ending love affair for power. Our State’s government expenditure has grown consistently – helped along by the government’s reluctance to disinvest and disempower. Government revenues on the other hand have suffered grievously due to obvious reasons. This could mean trouble ahead, particularly at a time when job market has undergone a terrible shattering; and the global ramifications of the loss of livelihood are yet to unfold fully. If the situation remains unchanged, or if there is further downslide, one can imagine what will be the aftershocks. The global scale of unemployment, and its effects, is now discussed world over. But for us the situation in our State is even worse, and we need to brace up for the challenge before things literally collapse. If the rest of the world is faced with the challenge of the pandemic, ours is crushed under the weight of twin troubles – one, the pandemic, and another, the long drawn instability in terms of politics and governance. In this situation our people are reeling under an unimaginable pressure of an uncertainty that is only compounded by the present pandemic. In this scenario when the normal processes of recruitment have also come to a halt, one can only imagine the amount of hardships people are faced with. On the one hand there is a talk of reaching out to our youth in terms of addressing their needs, but on the other the creations of new jobs has almost come to a naught. Our youth today are an unfortunate lot to have faced such terrible times. Given the circumstances the space for private entrepreneurship has squeezed, no worthwhile investments are coming from anywhere, the traditional sectors of handicraft are down and out, and on top of it no new recruitments are happening. In this backdrop when it is stated that development would be given precedence, one can genuinely ask questions about the development of human resource. After all material development and human development are tied to each other. The upshot of the matter is that it is the foremost duty of any government to ensure that jobs are created for the unemployed youth. One can understand that there are limits to the creation of jobs within the government departments, but the posts lying vacant can be filled up. What can also be done is to ensure that local businesses and State based private enterprise is provided with a conducive atmosphere so that more jobs are created. Today our State stands at its economic grave. Political issues will get resolved with time, mostly dependent on extraneous conditions that neither the State nor its citizens can influence. But, once in the grave of deprivation, poverty and economic doom, we will forever remain colonized by our own state of destitution.