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No Propaganda, Do Your Duty: Policy Illiteracy in Manipur

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No Propaganda, Do Your Duty: Policy Illiteracy in Manipur

By – Amar Yumnam
Imphal, June 17:

A former Head of the People of Manipur has recently advised the present Head of the People to stop indulgence in propaganda and rather concentrate on performing his role under prevailing vicissitudes of social crisis. This is not surprising because the people of the State are already fully aware of the combative approach of the present administration to the common people without putting any positive intervention to address the crises engulfing the land and the people; the public are forced towards disinclination to voicing any complaint whatsoever on the nature, competence and performance of the government.
By the way, I have also raised in more than one instance the contemporary absence of governance in Manipur in this column and elsewhere. We have been made to hear the combative but irrelevant statements of the present Head of the People of Manipur. So instead of getting the opportunity of witnessing administrative approaches to bring solutions to the harsh social crises, the people have been made to suffer the experience of fear and hesitance on expressing any opinion in the public domain. This mentally coercive atmosphere can never be the means to take the people along for resolving social crises and move ahead in the development process.
Here something very critical has been revealed by a recent decision of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) which establish that Governance cannot be there if the awareness of Governance itself is absent. On 13 instant, the Manipur Government took a resolution to constitute a Cabinet Sub-Committee to look into, as reported in the capital dailies, “identifying the grievances of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) staying in relief camps, assessing the needs and requirements of persons in relief camps, supervising measures for resettlement and rehabilitation of IDPs, and supervising identification of land for temporary relocation of IDPs.”
Now how do I say that, when a decision is being taken to prepare the Government to connect with the people, there is absence of knowledge of what Governance is; Governance needs understanding of and capacity for Governance. If the Sub-Committee were constituted within one month or so of displacement, the constitution of Members and the nature of the Terms of Reference would have served the purpose. But, since the crisis has been there for more than a year and there is no sign of ending any time sooner ceteris paribus, the qualitative character of the effects has undergone a massive transformation. There is now an imperative to appreciate the diversity in needed social sector interventions among the IDPs. This would mean that the intervention for rehabilitation has to keep this in mind and thereby calling the services of a Social Sector specialist. Still further, even with the limited Terms of Reference, the process for assessment would inevitably need the services of someone who knows about Social Evaluation. While Social Evaluation would be the core foundation for the Assessment, we do not see anyone in the Sub-Committee who could perform this task; there is no mention either that the services of External Evaluators would be brought into engagement.
Still further, since the Cabinet has at all discussed the issues of IDPs, it is naturally expected that the larger effects should also have been brought into focus. As the crisis has been allowed to linger for so long, the livelihood engagements of the majority of the population have been adversely affected. This effect has been particularly very painfully costly for the poorer sections of the population. This is another issue calling for immediate attention and bringing forth needed interventions.
While the concept of Governance has been briefly defined in quite many interventions in this column earlier, it would be relevant to recall the Six Indicators adopted by the World Bank in the Worldwide Governance Indicators study of which Four are primarily concerned with the quality of delivery of government services – Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law and Control of Corruption, while the other Two measure State of Democracy – Voice and Accountability and Political Stability and Absence of Violence. One can easily assess the existing regime on any of these.
Here we may ask as to why the Government continuously displays wanting so much so that a former Head of the People would ask the present Head to concentrate on identifying what needs to be done and performing on those needs. This is because I am afraid the present regime has a poor understanding of what a Policy is about. A Policy is not what a Minister just makes a statement or a Head of the People just announces inconsistent programmes of action. But there can be no Governance worth the name in the absence of an Understanding of Policy, and Governance is to perform the functions needed to make the Policy a success. So the present government in Manipur should clearly spell out what Understanding of Policy is with them, what are the Policies guiding the present functioning and what are the focused objectives of these.
The beauty of Manipur lies in the social conception of progression being founded on Evolutionary Perceptions. This process starting from the Pre-Historic days has created a kind of Social Ethos leading the spirits of progress and interaction. But the present crisis in a context of absence of governance has caused so much damage to the inherited social ethos evolved over the millennia. It is a very critical social period now.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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