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After the Results

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 March 2018 12:00 AM GMT

The BJP must be happy, given its gains in the Northeast. In the wake of the results of the Assembly polls in Meghalaya, galand and Tripura, it is clear that the BJP has made inroads. The party has been looking for this for long. The Northeast has always been a Congress bastion, with the Congress pretence that it is the only tiol party with a regiolist hue that can address the concerns peculiar to this region – the sham compounded by its professed affinity to tribal factors. Reality, nonetheless, is different. Despite Congress rule all along, the region has not progressed. As a matter of fact, one can well ask as to what the so-called ‘secular’ and ‘progressive’ Congress has done all these years to crack the riddle of unemployment here. Virtually nothing. Youth from this region venture out to places like Delhi and Bangalore for petty jobs, despite their qualifications for better jobs – a reality that ought to have unnerved any sensible political outfit. Here comes the role of the BJP in its present avatar in the Northeast.

The task for the Right formation is cut out. First, it must evolve a formula to resolve the crisis of unemployment. This is a huge crisis, given the fact that when youth are educated but have no jobs to sustain their livelihood, they can easily be lured into crimes of varied shades – chiefly so-called insurgency, which in fact has mutated into a roaring industry of loot, murder and mayhem, sans any cause at all. Therefore, the problem is huge. Enhance educatiol facilities, change the methodology of education (especially the education system that must pass the test of both validity and reliability, which is in vogue in many Western systems of education), have your teachers trained in the right skills of teaching, lay stress on skill development (the industrial training institutes, or ITIs as they are called, cut a very sorry figure as of now), and let private players come in, in the field of education, without the bureaucracy erecting hurdles of monstrous proportion as is the case today.

Then comes the basket of other issues. Of which the eminent one is corruption. This, being a huge architecture of politicians, bureaucrats, contractors, and militants, of course, dressed up as ‘revolutiories’, has to be taken head-on. As the cash-for-job scam in Assam’s civil services regime has shown – what utter shame it has been! – the rot is deeper than one can imagine. Just think: Had it not been for the arrests made so far, thanks to the Dibrugarh police initiative, you could well have bureaucrats administering you with no knowledge of public administration at all because they are people who paid money to buy their esteemed jobs! This is cheap. Therefore, tackle this rot on a high-priority basis. Unless this is done, the development story, however decorated with tall promises, will remain hollow – and self-destructive.

The new chief ministers of Meghalaya, galand and Tripura must wake up to the realities of the day and be seen serving the people, not lording over them with promises tall but empty.

Why this Mad Rush?

A functioning government has to be seen functioning. Else it is not functioning at all. The fact of the matter is that when a fiscal starts, that very moment the government has to take the call and begin to function, given the plethora of promises made. Budget announcements are not mere postulates. They are promises made to the people. They have to be kept. Else it is not any democracy at all, however ostentatious be the sham.

But the story in Assam is different. As this newspaper reported on Thursday, “The government has changed, but there is no change in the March-end mad rush; it is a continuum of old mindset that is spoiling the game; and it is the people who are the ultimate sufferers for no fault of theirs at all.” It is bizarre that only now the different departments of the State should wake up from deep and chosen slumber! Well, so-called March-ending is haunting them, and they must, therefore, work for the ‘welfare’ of the masses. Every department is in a mad rush to get things done by March 31 – they are ‘busy’ because they have to issue tenders for works, issue deadlines, and send proposals to the fince department. This is not how stories run in a functioning democracy dedicated to the cause of the people at large. But perhaps we have already reduced ourselves to a ba republic. There seems to be a rot in the fince department of the State. It is the nerve centre of the entire system of funding. Where is the rot? And why?

Inconvenient questions apart, the crux of the matter is that people – aam aadmi – do not figure in the political imagition of the ones flourishing in the corridors of power. Democracy is not a slogan; it is action with the traction of bringing promises to fruition. It is a promise to the aam jata that must be kept, however high be the hurdles. It is solid commitment, in other words. And who does not know that a government in a democracy is a continuous process, not something that wakes up only when the fiscal is about to be over and some grand, new, highly decorated budget promises have again to be doled out? But then the democratic government in place in this State crying for speedy implementation of projects, and hence development, seems to still believe that people can still be taken for a joyous – but utterly misleading – ride. They cannot be. The people are awake. They are not sleeping like the government they have elected to serve them.

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