Anti-VIP culture, a welcome change

Morung Express News
Dimapur | March 7

Call it a welcome change: lawmakers and top bureaucrats are finally getting used to the idea of riding in cars without advertising themselves too loud on the road.

The first Cabinet meeting of the PDA Government on March 8, 2018, decided to do away with ‘VIP culture’ and subsequently the government issued a notification banning the use of name and designation plates in vehicles by any government official. The ‘anti-VIP culture’ notification extended to even ministers and elected members.

As the PDA government completes one year, the once much-valued name/designation plates of ministers and other ‘VIPs’ continue to gather dust in their garage or basement.

In place of nameplates, a color coded pass system designed for official use, especially for ministers and MLAs, was introduced to avoid inconveniences.

The Cabinet decision on ‘anti-VIP culture’ also stated that except for the Governor, Chief Minister, deputy CM, Speaker and deputy Speaker, no other functionary of the government would use security escorts and pilots within Kohima and Dimapur. Further, it was decided that security surveillance in the state capital and Dimapur would be enhanced and improved so that ministers and other functionaries do not have the need to use escorts and pilots within city limits.

According to Police sources, security and traffic surveillance in the two cities have been considerably streamlined since then.

Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to see legislators still using security escorts within city limits.

“The decision to do away with name/designation plates for Ministers and VIPs is a welcome change. Now with the elected representatives leading the way, the craze for name/designation plates among the political party functionaries, tribal hoho leaders and NGOs have also subsided”, a retired government officer noted.

“Earlier, before the district administration and police clamped down on rampant use of name/designation plates, every tenth vehicle in Dimapur roads seemed to bear name and designation plates, some as big as billboards”, a businessman commented on a lighter note.

In line with the anti-VIP culture, the government also decided to do away with the use of word ‘chief guest’ for ministers and top government officials gracing government functions and private events too and replaced it with other titles like special guest, special invitee, chief patron, chief host and the likes.

“This change of title does not mean anything especially in events organized by student unions/tribal organizations or NGOs where the main motive of inviting a Minister or officials is to solicit donation. After all, what’s in a name- chief guest or special invitee, that person has to dole out something after getting VIP treatment”, a local entrepreneur said.

“One side the government may be trying to minimize VIP culture, but it seems the general public still loathes to give up the chief guest culture”, he added.