Daring but Deficient

The Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio launched the CM’s Dashboard in Kohima on August 13 with the objective of ensuring proper “monitoring of all government schemes with transparency and accountability in one single frame.”

 

CM’s Dashboard has become a trend in recent years after it was first implemented by Andhra Pradesh in 2015 as an “integrated Dashboard established to monitor category-wise key performance indicators of various departments/schemes in real time.”

 

The state of Nagaland joined the bandwagon of handful states in India such as Karnataka, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh.

 

The Nagaland’s Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) informed that the Dashboard was “a single window in terms of some important measurable parameters/progress called KPIS (Key Performance Indicator).”

 

“The system will enable the Chief Minister to assess the performance of the projects on the click of a button and take immediate actionable decisions with regard to the projects/schemes,” it added. Currently, there are 22 schemes under 11 state government departments which are being monitored and more are to be added. The broad sectors covered are education, energy, finance, health, infrastructure, rural development and transport.

 

While the initiative is a daring step and hopefully engenders transparency and accountability along with effective implementation of different government schemes, a sneak peek into the CM’s ‘window’ so far offer one verdict: Daring but Deficient.

 

The performance card as reflected in the Dashboard is a vivid indicator of what the government has ‘achieved’ so far – the outcome might give anyone at the helms of affairs sleepless nights. While many sectors highlighted are regular central sponsored schemes carried out by various nodal agencies in the state and mainly for informative, others reflect the pace of works of the government agencies.

 

Take the case of ‘maintenance of roads’ under the State’s Public Works Department. The Dashboard informed that out of the total length of 116.45 km road works undertaken by the department, so far only 31.3 km (or 26.88%) have been completed. 55.42% of the roads (46 out of total 83) are designated as “In Progress.”

 

Likewise, under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), a scheme of Govt. of India to provide connectivity to “unconnected Habitations” or rural areas, the total number of works as of April 2018 is given as 19 with 263.74 km road length with a sanctioned cost of 16,965.68 lakh (1696.56 Cr). Out of this, 16.96 crore has already been spent as “Maintenance Cost”. The entry in PMGSY’s Online Management, Monitoring and Accounting System (OMMAS) to which the Dashboard is linked, informed that out of targeted length of 200 km to be completed in 2018-19 fiscal, only 42.5 km has been completed. These figures reveal the manner in which the works are taken. Though ‘phase wise’ manner may be an excuse for the state government in meeting the target, this definitely signifies that the output is not even 40% of the efforts put in.

 

Another area of concern requiring urgent attention is the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) with objective of providing vaccines for children and pregnant women. The Dashboard informed that so far, out of the total estimated ‘Pregnant Women’ only 38.24% has been registered under RCH initiative. Only 46.04% of the ‘Estimated Children’ has been registered so far as of August 18, 2018. At a time when all the states are adopting zero tolerance towards health sector, this part of the country has shaky roots for the same.

 

The idea of a Dashboard is lofty and commendable; however, if put just as a PR exercise, it would amount to nothing. The Dashboard finely lays impetus on the areas that need concentration and government’s focus. The whole exercise would go out of the intended track if the grey areas are not set right. To achieve the very objective of the Dashboard, the government should roll up its sleeves, swing into action and rectify the barriers. One surely hopes that the real intention of the Chief Minister is ‘delivery of services’ and not ‘denying-delaying of services’.