Manipur Government: need to nurture public trust

Manipur Government: need to nurture public trust

/ Guest Column / Tuesday, 22 November 2022 17:44

By: Amar Yumnam
By now it is fairly well-established that the present government of Manipur is fairly competent in propaganda functioning, and manifesting display of activism but rather weak in policy framing. The Sangai Festival is as good as it is, but only in so far as it relates to the manifest display of presence of beauty and not beyond.
Recently, we have had two reports emanating from the characteristic display of the power of youths of Manipur. Some youths have recently proved again the inherent competence in traditional and non-traditional sports in events within and outside the State. Further there have been reports of surrendering by a few insurgents to the provincial government.
Before we examine the implications of these two behaviourally different events, let me put in assertive terms that any government anywhere can serve the purpose of prosperity of the land and people only if it commands trust of the people. Let me also hasten to add that commanding trust of the people is not something which falls from the sky, but necessitates continuous cultivation and sustained support from the populace. While it would be countered by the government of the day, a social tragedy of Manipur today is that the public expectations for positive and significant outcomes from the interventions of the government are rather low. In other words, the primary objective of the government is cultivation of the trust of the public and sustain it in a robust way. Once it is achieved, the consequential outcomes of government interventions would be forever evolving in a positive way. This is missing.
As stated above, the characteristic behavioural implications of the two recent events are very different. The Sangai Festival would play a lovely role in enhancing the spirits of the people immediately after the recent harvest period. But beyond this we would be looking forward how the governance tries to evolve this as an Annual Event with long term policy components for Environment such that the positive implications keep enhancing over time. This would go in enhancing the Trust of the people on the government.
Given the socio-politico-economic scenario of Manipur over the last half a century or so, the implications of the recent event of some insurgents giving up arms and surrendering to the government are much more than any other event. Well, it is a different matter that there are already ridicules of the Surrender Ceremony from two organisations, the PREPAK and the KYKL;I would not like to comment on this.
The biggest challenge for any society is to harness the energy of the contemporary youth such that their own future is ensured but the peace of the society is established in a sustained way. There is no better option than this to forever guarantee the sustainability of peace and stable growth of the society. This is the best means to harness the Public Trust of the Government. But this again is something which does not emerge spontaneously; it requires a committed and structured approach.
This is exactly where we have a major problem with the displayed attitude of the government on the surrendered. Such occasions have been there in the past too, but have not yet had the desired impacts. The approach of the government to the problem of insurgency and the insurgents rather looked very casual. Of course, there was an appeal to take advantage of the government schemes and join the mainstream – wish the issue were as simple as this makes look like.
Youths are the backbone and the future of any society. Such events should have been taken as the opportunity to launch a Youth Policy. Besides, the youths joining Insurgency, there have been many critical issues relating to our sports girls and boys. Building the Public Trust of the government through a Youth Policy is the most sustainable and healthy approach.
The Rehabilitation and Resettlement of surrendered youths in a region with more than half-a-century of insurgency can never be a casual affair. To begin with, please see as to how things are done across the world. First of all, it is fundamental that a framework for psychological assessment and continuous psychological monitoring for at least half a decade of the youths is fundamental. For this the government must have a team of Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists for undertaking the needful; it is something which can never be fulfilled by the government bureaucrats – security or otherwise.
But now it cannot be that the team of Psychologists should be maintained for the phenomenon of surrender which happens only once in a while. But the imperative for youths to be forever given the care and guidance is paramount. This is where there is the NEED for a Youth Policy for Manipur. This youth policy should be necessarily multi-dimensional covering Education, Health, Employment, Sports and anything where the youths have interest, and the friendly intervention of the Psychologists. The present scenario is so depressing that the youths have started making themselves available for mobilisation and indulgence in activities instigated by a few political leaders – this creates an atmosphere of pseudo satisfaction to the youths as being closed to the political powers of the day while their little expenses are borne by the political players. What we should be looking for is a world where there is decreasing scope for this and decline in fragmentation of youths in the contemporary world. The present world of youths is captured by this phenomenon of “fragmentization” where everyone tries to be different without leaving the crowd. Further there has now emerged the stage of adolescence instead of the earlier transition from childhood to adulthood.
The Youth Policy would not be effective and fully meaningful unless it is framed within a larger framework of Social Policy. The Social Policy would address generational issues, while also taking care of economic, political, demographic, ethnicity and historical issues that plaque the polity of Manipur. Given the current capability and orientation of the government of Manipur, she cannot on her own frame such a policy. The provincial government should have the commitment to address the long-term issues of the State by hiring and constituting a Team of Experts for framing a Social Policy for Manipur. The present casual approach to long term issues and manifest strength in casual display of commitment in organising eye-catching events would not serve the need for evolving Public Trust; without Public Trust, the government can achieve little.

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