Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
The NDPP-BJP led PDA Government is now more than two months old and it is a good time to look back at their ‘commitments’ which they promised to fulfill within 60 days and 100 days dateline. In a nutshell, the main engagements of the first two months can be summed up within the seemingly unending allocation of ‘portfolios,’ and the preparation and campaigning for Lok Sabha Bye-election. However, the promise to repair and renovate the roads in the state capital, the commercial hub and district headquarters at least took off in some pockets though a lot is still desirable.
The room first needs to be set ‘in order’ and ‘truly’ with the abolishment of the Parliamentary Secretaries, the house was ‘ordered’ with the induction of ‘Advisors,’ 20 in all along with other ‘designate’ in the status of cabinet.
As the situation stands, one can see that nothing commendable or remarkable has been done if compared with their election manifesto(s). Considering the messy state of affairs, it is difficult to expect transformation in a couple of months but the emerging trends suggest that it was more of words and ‘blind talk’ than deeds. In this strain, does the Government need a reminder about their towering manifestos?
In tune with “modernization of govt. departments using information technology” towards good governance; transparency and meritocracy, the cabinet resolved that all government departments and institutions would be required to have its websites, internet portals that provide all information related to their respective departments. In this age of information where the level of flow of information defines the status of the times, the public are still mis-informed or not informed at all. Further, it has also been promised that “all government directorates and secretariat would be covered by Aadhaar enabled biometric attendance system within 100 days.” Such measures when adopted are a step towards providing better governance and service to the public.
Looking at the economic dependency syndrome, the commitment to “tackle illegal immigrants’ issue” is indeed serious but sadly nothing concrete have been done. In relation to this, coming to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the government has not taken any stand though ‘concerns and opinion’ from certain organizations were to be forwarded to the centre.
“Revamping the education system” was one of the manifesto among others which included ‘insurance cover for students studying outside’; ‘timely and increased scholarships’; ‘teachers welfare and protection’; ‘removal of ghost employees and bogus staff’. Now, what measures have been adopted for the student’s scholarships and also the insurance cover for the many students studying outside? How is the teacher’s welfare and protection addressed? The SSA teachers in particular were supposed to be ‘absorbed’ under the state government by 2017 but today they continue to protest for non-payment of salaries so also the issue of non-inclusion in the 7th ROP. Further uncertainty awaits as the new Centrally Integrated Programme has been approved to subsume the SSA, RMSA and TE (Teacher Education) w.e.f April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2020. If the government is serious about “teacher’s welfare and protection”, then these are some of the issues which need to be addressed at the earliest. Further, to address the lack of Science and Maths graduate teachers, the department conducted interviews and subsequently the results were declared on 23rd December 2017, but till today the selected candidates are still waiting for their appointment. How can one talk about revamping the education system or even provide quality education when these issues continue to plague the education department.
Coming to their commitment towards “Improved electrical supply and power reform” one may wonder what steps are being taken towards this end but power supply has become more erratic. While it is necessary to have proper infrastructure to ensure adequate power supply, it is also the bounden duty of the consumers to pay their light bills timely and also ‘honestly.’ Another summer is here, and the Power Minister and the department need to plan and work on installing adequate infrastructure to avoid something catastrophic like the one that happened last year.
Two months have now passed by swiftly, yet, there are many more of their manifestos which are still waiting to be explored. Now, if the government is really sincere about delivering quality life, then the focus should be to begin by addressing the basic needs.
For now, the only thing worth celebrating is the likelihood of a CBI Branch Office in Dimapur as per assurance given by the CBI officials to the Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF). Hope it will open up a new era of transparency and accountability.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir writes a weekly guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org)