Editorial

White elephant

It can be said that Nagaland by all accounts is in a terrible mess. It will take a long time and a strong will to sort out these things. Political issues may take time to get resolved but it is disgusting that providing even basic amenities to common people in the state has become like giving them huge favor. Common masses have a right to live a dignified life as in a democratic system the government is always claimed to be by the people, for the people and of the people. This definition of any democratic government looks so attractive but on the ground things are quite in contrast. Most of the elected representatives often forget their promises but if few want to deliver they have to face bureaucratic blockade. Simple and genuine issues are made much complicated only to satisfy the conscience of few white collar babus who often claim themselves to be public servants. No doubt there are honest and competent officers in every department but not only are their voice goes unheard but unfortunately they just keep most of the issues lingering, just to prove that they have no self interest in the said subject. They don’t realize how their attitude makes masses suffer. It is unfortunate that institutions required to make the polity and governance transparent, accountable and responsive to the people’s needs and demands and for improving the delivery mechanism have been virtually made redundant by eroding their independence and autonomy or denying them necessary infrastructure due to legal shortcomings or by using underhand means. On the other hand, a number of superfluous bodies and organizations have been created and allowed to flourish merely to provide lucrative jobs for the politicians of different sizes or the favourites of those at the helm. To be precise, various institutions have been set up, due to the constant public pressure, aimed at eliminating corruption and making the governance accountable, for protecting the citizens right to know and their rights. The creations of these institutions, for obvious reasons, were done after much hesitation. No wonder the laws providing for these institutions were faulty, inadequate and left with several loopholes thus making the functioning of these institutions ineffective. The manner in which the process of selection of the chairmen and other members of these institutions is invariably delayed as also shrouded in mystery betrays the ruling elite’s lack of faith in democratic norms and practices. Added to it is the powerful vested interests in politics and bureaucracy which create all kinds of hurdles in the way of these institutions to serve the desired purpose. With these institutions failing to get the required cooperation of the Government and its various agencies in their authority efficacy and utility are further eroded. While such important and vital institutions have been practically made redundant, a large number of institutions, boards and corporations created, merely to provide lucrative jobs to the disgruntled and defeated politicians and which have been a drain on the State’s limited resources are not only multiplying but thriving with their chairmen and members enjoying hefty salaries and perks. We all know such institutions/boards. On all accounts they have proved to be white elephant in view of the huge expenditure entailed as also due to its failure to fulfill the desired objective. The very democratic character of this institution has been eroded with most of its members nominated by the Government simply to provide backdoor entry for the ruling party workers, either defeated in the assembly elections or otherwise disgruntled, in the legislature. Same is true about several boards set up ostensibly to provide relief to different weaker and marginalized communities and sections of the people. These institutions lack autonomy, democratic character, powers and authority to serve the desired purpose for which these are created. The only objective that these bodies fulfill is the provision of lucrative jobs as chairmen, vice chairmen or members of these superfluous boards for ruling party men and women who enjoy hefty salaries allowances and perks costing the state exchequer several crores annually. Worse, these bodies lack democratic and non-partisan character, accountability and transparency. The rulers have a vested interest to retain such organizations by misusing their power and authority. This not only puts avoidable burden on the state’s resources but also breeds both political and monetary corruption.

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