SHILLONG: The NPP-led MDA Government has completed half of its term after it took over the command of ruling the state from Congress in 2019. Prior to elections 2018 the NPP had promised to bring change in the governance of the state but two and half years later, citizens feel that the coalition Government needs to pull up its socks and perform better.
In this Part-II and concluding episode on “Bouquets and Brickbats”, we bring some more views from all across the political spectrum:
Former Home Minister, RG Lyngdoh said that the performance of this MDA Government has been impeded to a very large extent by the Them Mawlong agitation, then the CAA agitation and finally by the Coronavirus pandemic.
While making his observations, he said that firstly, the coalition does not seem to be a very cohesive one, with the major party dominating the Government and pushing its agenda at the expense of the minor partners.
“It appears to be a marriage of convenience rather than a marriage of principles,” Lyngdoh said
According to Lyngdoh, there appears to be a definite lack of transparency, with most decisions being kept in the twilight zone as for example, a lot of consultants are being appointed without following proper protocols.
“This is, perhaps made possible because the principles of checks and balances in governance are being flouted. For example, good governance requires that proposals from a line department be vetted first by planning and then by finance. But in this case the same Commissioner & Secretary heads two major line departments as well as the planning and finance departments,” he said
He also believed that while this may ease the sanctioning of developmental schemes, it however throws the principles of checks and balance out of the window which is a dangerous trend that could easily lead to major procedural and financial irregularities.
“Thirdly, it appears that with everybody’s attention being diverted by the pandemic, a lot of decisions are being taken without a proper debate. The major ones being the Meghalayan Age Festival which cost the State exchequer close to Rs 5 crore. Then the Tourism Policy that proposed a paradigm shift in policy that is threatening the livelihood of a huge number of small stakeholders. And finally, the proposal to construct a shopping complex in the erstwhile Barik PWD compound,” he said
He also observed that the inability of this Government to implement decisions taken on (Contd on P-10)
Law and order…
(Contd from P-3) important issues like the coal ban, gave them a bad name.
“This Government, under its present leadership had started with a lot of public goodwill and support. It appears that this has eroded substantially over the last two and a half years. I sincerely hope the Chief Minister and his team will take corrective measures to that his present term can end on a positive note,” Lyngdoh added.
Congress MLA, Ampareen Lyngdoh said that the government has been through so many challenges in the last two years.
She said that the high handed dictates of the CAA, the proposed Sixth Schedule Amendment, the arbitrary increase on state shares in Central Schemes, are issues that have added more pressure on governance, resulting in long drawn displacement of development in the state.
”The unexpected challenge of the onslaught of the pandemic has put huge strains on the financial health of the state, besides the exposure of an ill – prepared health system impacting especially children and women in particular between April & July. Drugs and substance abuse have also penetrated deep in the state, hitting especially the urban areas impacting dearly on law & order and increase on related rise of hideous crimes,” she said.
According to Lyngdoh, livelihoods and employment are at an all time low as a result of the drastic fall of the overall GDP in the country adding on to the woes of citizens. She said power cuts, failure of water supply are also worrisome.
The former Minister further observed that in the last two years, they are yet to be given adequate ground to assess the state’s performance in respect of development, growth and progress.
Former minister and UDP leader, Paul Lyngdoh said that considering the plurality of political parties partnering in the coalition, issues like the CAB and the ILP agitations were handled tactfully.
However, he said that the challenges of effective governance that lie ahead are manifold: tackling the menacing COVID scenario, the resultant impact on the economy and livelihoods, the boundary tangle, water crisis, etc
“The biggest room in the world is that of self-improvement,” he said.
Former President of Khasi Jaintia Hills Deficit School Teachers Association, ED Nongsiang said that the performance of the Government has not been up to the mark as in the beginning Government did tried to do something but over the years, things are going very slow.
He pointed out that road condition is bad everywhere and even in the Education sector, they have not come up with anything new while adding that demands of the teachers are stagnant and even the teachers have not been included in the 5th pay Commission.
“In two and half years, something should have been done but nothing have been done,” he said.
Cabinet Minister, AL Hek however maintained that the Government has done very well especially during the pandemic.
“The entire Government has worked as a team and we are trying our best to deliver to the people,” he said.