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Usurped Domain

by Rinku Khumukcham
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The most basic and important expectation of every rational citizen of a country is for the government to focus on the importance of good governance, transparency, and accountability to economic growth and democracy. The people of the state are no exception, and while states like Manipur where armed conflict situations still present a major challenge to smooth and efficient governance and effective administration, it does not in any manner imply that the rest of the country has it easy as every state or region has its own share of peculiar challenges, drawbacks and dilemmas. It however looks as if the state has been having more than its fair share of the unwanted hindrances and social disruptions thanks in large part to the indecisive nature of the state administrators who have institutionalized the practice of putting off almost every activity related to public development until some form of agitation is staged to set the ball in motion. And the irony in the whole sordid drama is that it is unmistakably clear as to why such a practice is being kept up despite the unceasing protests and agitations against such practices, even though those in the thick of it might have liked to keep things under wraps.
While a substantial part of the euphoria and high expectations generated with the change of guard in the state just over a year ago have evaporated, there is still a lingering hope that the present government will make a difference to the unfulfilled expectations of the people of the state. There have been a spurt of developmental activities across all sectors at the outset, and while the people are set to celebrate the changes, it now looks clearer with each passing day that the public is in for another long haul till the next election. Instead of the holistic approach towards development and inclusive progress assured and even initiated upto a certain degree, it now has come down to the age-old practice of comparative administration. The gradual turnaround is understandable, even expected, as the crux of the detriment has visibly remained unchanged and unchallenged. No matter the political will or the intent of the government, it has been proven that until the system is being targeted and changes made, every effort in development and progress will remain an exercise in futility, which brings us back to the most basic yet all important question- what should be the one most important step the government should take to ensure that initiatives towards a positive and radical change have been made?
One possible answer is the laying of greater emphasis on the responsibilities of the bureaucrats and elected representatives rather than the perks and rights such public positions could present, the key word being responsibility in its broadest sense encompassing the responsibility to ensure all development activities are being carried out without undue delay or deviations, responsibility to ensure social justice and fairness in engagement with the public, responsibility to ensure the law is being upheld and that the aspirations of the people are respected and provided to the best level, and among others, responsibility to ensure the authorities and powers bestowed on the officers, bureaucrats and elected representatives are utilized to make things happen for the common people in time without undue delay. So far, the responsibility part has been the biggest disappointment for the public and has continued to be the cause of most, if not all, unrest, agitations and disruptions in the society. Law-making and its efficient disbursement should remain the domain of the elected representatives. Failure to dispense adequate and timely justice and administration would always invite the facilitators of democracy to try and usurp that domain.

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