Dr. Asangba Tzüdir
With the installing of the PDA government, as a move towards anti VIP culture and austerity drives, it has banned the use of designation/name plates on vehicles, though for Ministers and MLAs it is said that appropriate color coded stickers will be issued to facilitate their movement. In another not so ‘significant’ change move, it was announced that the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima would be renamed in memory of the first Naga olympian Dr. T. Ao coinciding with his centenary. It is a change but question remains whether it contributes to progressive change. Are these the signs and reflection of “change is coming”?
After much speculation and anticipation, the prized cabinet portfolios are officially made public and as expected the finance portfolio finds comfortably nestled once again in the hands of the Chief Minister. Since the ouster of K. Therie, the then Finance Minister, the finance portfolio has been ‘normalized’ as the Chief Minister’s portfolio and this ‘protocol’ has remained unquestioned. It only speak volumes about the existing ‘governmental’ power structure in Nagaland. The absence of a Finance Minister also gives more power, so also ‘unaccounted power’ to the planning department. Having a separate Finance Minister will not only create financial accountability but also provide a clear financial working direction within a proper plan.
One also wonders why there is no Minister for School Education except for Higher and Technical Education. Either its not too plum or too dirty a department to clean the mess. No portfolio cannot be considered as plum or thin but are equally important in the context of overall development and growth of Nagaland. But sadly, money and power is set the parameter for defining the ‘thicknes’ or ‘thinness’ of a portfolio.
Reflecting on the election manifesto of NDPP, various commitments have been declared under various heads: Good Governance and Transparecy; Development and Economic Growth; Innovation/Creativity; Youth/Education. Among the various bullet points under each section, there are certain aspects which holds primacy. It includes ensuring meritocracy and fairness; removal of ghost employees and bogus staff; good roads and better connectivity; improved electrical supply and power reform. Further, marking a “highly ambitious” first day in the office of the new government, the Chief Minister has promised changes within the first 100 days with focus on the Naga Political issue, Good Governance, Sports and youth affairs, and special emphasis on was given on Repair and renovation of roads in the state capital, the commercial hub Dimapur and district headquarters within 60 days.
Inorder to build quality life and also to clear the existing air of skepticism, it is important for the government to ensure that their commitments are fulfilled with practical solidity. For real change to begin, it can only come from within and requires a sincere and honest realisation. And the kind of change that is offered will be seen with more watchful eyes because the kind of change that is expected is not simple change like the change in name but one that holds tangibility and progress.
From being an ‘oppositionless’ government to a shift towards single largest party opposition, the onus is now on the opposition to take the lead and keep a check towards ensuring good governance and transparency. There are major issues and problems galore that is waiting for change, and one that needs to be progressive, and considering the circumstances under which the PDA came into being, the stability of the government seems to be of utmost concern. Seriously, the public cannot afford another Kaziranga govt.
(Dr. Asangba Tzudir writes a weekly guest editorial for The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to email@example.com)