By Pabitra Kr Chaudhuri
In the recent election in Assam, there is an unexpected result for the BJP along with AGP & BPF and no one thought that the Congress entrenched in 15 years govt. will be routed in such a manner. The ethnic Assamese were mostly polarized and this time ethnic Assamese Muslims (which traditiolly voted for Congress and a chunk of New Muslims) also voted for NDA. The people were groaning under an indifferent govt. they wanted to change for the better. Kudos must go to Himanta Biswa Sharma for the massive victory- his Padyatras and having meetings in the nook and corner was unique and he could be well termed as architect of the victory of NDA. Equally BJP’s announcement of the me of Sarbanda Sonowal as the Chief Minister was noteworthy. The synergic forces of Sarbanda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma provided such a good result.
With the massive support that the people of Assam has accorded imposes a great responsibility on the present government and more so with the Chief Minister who is reckoned be a man of action and endowed with dymic qualities of leadership. In certain so called secularist circles word is going round, that Sarbanda has inclition towards Hinduta. This they even go to the length of pointing out that he always wears a tikka on his forehead giving the message of being a votary of Hindutva is such a reference is certainly wrong- in fact Sarbanda Sonowal is a true Indian and entrenched in universal religion as propounded by Shri Sankardev and inspiration from his Guru. What is wrong about ,it rightly gives a message that, if is anything is a believer in acceletiolism and Universal brotherhood. It is a happy augury for the people to have such a persolity as leader.
People expect good governce, public-friendly, transparent and equal treatments to all living in Assam. The great let-down in 1984 must not be repeated and any let down now after the massive mandate will not ever be excusable.
The Govt has started with a new and popular note with the white paper issued about the fincial resources and how it will go about to improve it. The CM’s regarding about his reducing the motor cade is widely appreciated. Indeed it is a deliverance—this matter may sound very small public but in significant showing people friendliness.
It is meet and proper that the new Govt. has settled down ever since it took power. The white paper as announced by the F.M. — Sarma is a unique document published at short notice which gives a clean vision while way the Govt. will move towards the promised progress and development.
Coming to brass stakes, State Governce at all levels has to be improved and where necessary has to be re-vamped. The Governments control over the encompasses almost every aspect of life and it is necessary to see how much can be minimized. The Governments controlled over the encompasses almost every aspect of life and it is necessary to see how much minimized govt. can withdraw it control and hand dover to Panchayats, NGOs and self help groups. “Raijar Padulit Raijor Sorkar” was a mere slogan hardly produced any results over the last 15 years. The adversaries systems do reach the grass roots is riddled with various adverse practices hardly reach the deprived and weaker sections of society.
In spite of all the inherent weakness with health sector it was put in rails during the present health minister's tenure. He brought in a which of change in Health administration and things looked better. During the last 5 years the edifice has to be broken and now will be the role of the minister health to ensure that it is back in the rails and really becoming a people welfare Department. Much needs to be improved and set right and it is hardly necessary to enunciate as the present Health Minister is properly attuned to ensure the change called far. Today according to many, medicines are rarely available in the hospitals of Assam and even the cheapest of them has to be bought by the patients’ attendants. This is very unfortutes and sooner it’s rectified, the better it is. In the rural areas, the Panchayats could be encouraged to take over some parts of magement and administration.
State governce has to be like good corporate governce. The principal stakeholders are the public, taxpayers and the voters. The elected government is like a Board of Directors with full responsibility towards the stakeholders. It has to have an efficient and transparent administration-ethical magement has to be practised instead of getting into the straitjacket of bureaucratic practice with hardly understandable rules and regulations which only impede the smooth functioning. It has to be recognized that at present, there have been earnest efforts to bring in some improvement in the state education sector. It has also to be recognized that there has been improvement in the artificial floods at Guwahati roads are better maintained now, though still much more has to be done.
In the educatiol sector which is largest as far as the manpower and fince are concerned, there are many aspects where the government can withdraw their control
The department is so large and spread out that even today we are not aware of the size of its manpower. At the school level, Panchayats again should be empowered particularly up to the HSLC standard and turally, the teachers will come under the aegis of the Panchayats. The examition aspect will be looked after by the SEBA. In regard to junior college /TDC level, the Government cannot shed off their authority but yet in certain respects, the governing bodies should be power-driven. For instance, when a teacher is selected by the selection committee set up by the Governing Body (where the Education Department is represented), one does not see why it should be referred to the DPI again. This indeed is an illustration of Inspector Raj, waste of time and money. Proper budget should be allotted to the Panchayats to operate. Universities should be made fully responsible for higher education/research and fincial assistance should be extended by the government on the strict stipulation that the accounts of universities are kept prim and proper with annual audit, etc. Also the universities themselves will have to make efforts to generate their own resources by various means like distance education, summer classes/semir/consultancy and mobilize their alumni in India and a broad for dotions.
The Deputy Commissioners office is the first link between the people and the Government here lies a situation of catch-22. In spite of the grievance cells and the fanfare of making it public friendly the public at large complains bitterly about the generally authoritarian attitude of the DC’s office. If anything, reforms have to start from here to secure public friendly quality governce. Many of the roles of the DC can be off loaded to local authorities and even to properly run NGOs with a clean record.
There are number of committees set up by DCs most of these are in me only- the relevant ones should be activated.
The tourism sector is one where most of the infrastructure, motels hotels, tourist complexes etc. can be off loaded to private parties/NGOs. This is one sector where a large number of people can be self employed-both the Directorate of Tourism and Assam Tourism Development Corporation should revamp themselves and shed off their bureaucratic clothing arid certain degree of dymism should be infused. There is no business of the State Government to be in the business of running hotels, motels, guiding tourists etc. The Government has to be only a nodal agency in this context. The department concerned should take a leaf from Kerala — how they have outsourced tourism to NGOs and successfully earned the brand equity of being called “God’s Own Country’.
So far what we have seen that the Government is trying to bring in a wind of change in all sectors of life and provide the people with better quality of Governce. What the public aspire is a corruption free administration, security of life and property, drinking water, good communication and roads, proper magement for in issuing Building Construction Licenses (We can now see multi-storied buildings with much against the law of Govt not to exceed 4 stories ; indiscrimite building permission is accorded without looking into the access roads, the road by many of the multi-storied is so rrow that neither the fire brigade an ambulance can move.) GMC/GMDA by laws are to be strictly followed- there have been blatant infarction of rules - people turally feel that here must be some other consideration for issuing such permission.
All in all, the Govt has started with a new note freeing itself from the straits jacket of brewing there is a saying that India suffers more from bureaucracy than democracy. High time the official behaves live genuine public servants. Similarly MLAs instead of fronting themselves which big fancy vehicles at Guwahati. They should be available in their constituency so that people can have direct approach.