Thursday, September 23, 2021

Unmet targets

Editorial 2

Apart from human resource, what matters in any sector of human activity is the state of infrastructure. A good infrastructure means an enabling atmosphere for any human activity. In today’s development management, the idea of infrastructure is actualized on scientific basis. A detailed assessment of needs and purposes is made, and then a matching infrastructure is put in place. What creates problems for the moderate economies is the lack or misuse of resources. That is where a project fails, or a target is missed. And in some cases we have enough infra structure but that doesn’t produce desired results because it is not put to use properly, and optimally. Today we regularly hear top functionaries in the government saying benefits of development schemes and all welfare plans must reach the target group. Now if we take it at the face value we can only appreciate such statements and welcome the initiatives taken in this regard. The question, however, is: Do the plans drawn and the statements made make any significant difference in the lives of the target population? The condition of the people living on the margins of the society is not improving the way these welfare and development programme would envisage. If that is the case then the whole idea, and the methods of application, need a serious review. Whatever is implemented after all deliberations, paper work, and necessary planning, is finally measured against its impact, short term as well as long term. Unless government schemes and development projects are seen in the backdrop of what they finally do to the people or the environment in the long run, we can neither update nor rectify the errors. In fact without monitoring, assessment, a regular feedback, and then an efficient mechanism to update, development projects don’t yield the desired effects. Most of the policies and schemes announced, and rolled out, by different departments fail completely, or don’t meet the target in our state just because there is no efficient monitoring. In today’s competitive and ever improving world of knowledge, wisdom, methods, and skill, it is extremely crucial for governments to have a keen eye on where the policies and schemes are actually going. Are they yielding the desired effects? Are the targets being met? Are the people getting benefitted as was envisaged? Clearly there is an urgent need to have periodical review of the various developmental works in the state. Such periodic review, perhaps district wise review of works, might foster administrative responsibilities of concerned officers associated with such works and imbibe in them the spirit of being more people friendly. It will also encourage greater mobility in officials to move about from out of their offices to visit the sites of the projects and take stock of all related developments. We know that the biggest cause of public outcry and nursing of being subjected to injustice in offices is the stonewalling attitude by majority of officials to issues of the people. Firstly, the concept of approachability and meeting public to hear their grievances is grossly ignored. Secondly, the red-tape and when will a particular work or an issue be settled is not made known to the aggrieved public. Thirdly, even urgent and works related to basic amenities are not prioritized and last but not the least accountability is nowhere to be seen as target and timeline oriented working culture is missing. Today many projects don’t meet the deadline, while some are abandoned midway. This sometimes gives one the feeling that nothing will change, and things are doomed to spiral down into the depths of dysfunction. Indeed there is urgent need for the governments to redesign schemes, redistribute the resource for it, and reformulate the patterns of affirmative action. By making small changes here and there no significant change can be made to the lives of the poor and the marginalized. A radical shift from the existing ways of thinking and doing is needed. A new economic paradigm and a fresh political articulation is needed to uplift the swathes of population living in poverty. If social development is the focus, then the institutions that are specifically meant for this purpose need to be upgraded, and their functioning monitored so as to match the targets set.