Governance in Meghalaya: A Chaos
By Batskhem Mawlein
Hello fellow citizens, let’s think together about the issue of governance in the state. To begin with, what is of significance is who we are? Why are we silent? Are we OK? Where are we heading? What will be the future of the youth? Will the government be responsible?
Since the beginning of the MDA government led by NPP, the ordinary people of the state became the victim of its multifaceted ideologies of blaming others for whatever happened. The people are dissatisfied, making them awake from silence to react with resentment on the variety of malpractices in governance against those who have given them power. The time has come for people of the state to realize the victimization they are subjected to. Now theye are ready to move out of their comfort zones to unite, struggle, and fight together to get their rights, justice, and freedom as enshrined in the Constitution of India. If the government had failed people from time to time, it could not be considered the sole source of every decision. We believe people are the sole authority in any decision about human affairs. If the government misused its given power, the people have every right to protest against it in response to its wrong moves.
In governance, corruption is often considered one of the most unethical actions, and it has become the legitimate activities of many, if not all, in the present scenario. Corruption’s inherent basis weakens practically all of a free democracy’s procedures and aims while creating a high level of resentment among the poor; it disturbs the peace and creates confusion among the government and residents. Corruption in the government sector is strongly linked to a lack of stability during changes. But despite MDA’s strength, corruption is widespread in the present government. It leads to painful circumstances as few researchers in social sciences, Tanzi, Kaufman, Wei, Goel, and Nelson have asserted. Their contention is that bureaucratic nightmares, government interference in the financial sectors, restrictions, and licensing allows the officers to check the economic activities to form a monopolistic power. It is discovered that the size of local public expenditure reflects the deteriorating position of the government. Although, it shows that socio-economic and cultural factors play a role in the extent of corruption in the public sector.
Another problem with Meghalaya is that business people entering politics have disfigured politics’ striking symbol, representation, and meaning. There would be a purpose why so many saloons in the Wild West stated “no-politics” as a rule set: they didn’t appear to have a blended combination like oil and water. The same might be true about businesses and their owners’ and political parties in the state. For instance, there was a widespread catchword when Trump lost the election in the recent past, “Trump’s leaving office now – and businessmen are leaving him. Can his toxic brand survive?” Perhaps, this is not what Trump had in mind when he stood for President of the United States. It would be the best lesson to learn about mixing politics and business from the West. Consequently, the business owner might fail, lose clients, reduce their fortune, and result in “market failure” and “state failure.”
Most business people lack socio-political, administrative, and legal training and may not be well able to participate in the political process. Businesses often hire lobbyists who specialize in pushing government policy on subjects that are important to them. Business is too self-centered to care about the general good since its primary goal is to generate money. In the 1970s, for illustration, a major fast-food corporation donated a quarter-million dollars to President Richard Nixon’s reelection bid. In exchange, the firm was allowed to frame laws allowing fast food outlets to pay adolescent laborers 20% below minimum wage.
It’s hazardous to blend business with politics since it pushes personal preferences. It’s a shambles, potentially lands the industry in heated air. Glancing at and studying the situation in Meghalaya, we can see that many business people who engage in local politics have failed to legislate for the general well-being of the citizens. Consider how many outstanding contributions they had made to the state due to their governmental positions. For instance, different Indian social organizations had assessed the state on various grounds; where are we heading regarding cleanliness, education, and poverty. The state is at the bottom of the lists; where will the MDA lead the people? On the other hand, politicians are still eager to welcome, integrate, and engage them to benefit themselves and encourage participation in manipulative politics for two-sided benefits.
Corruption has an influence that extends far beyond the corrupt people and the unfortunate coworkers who are entangled therein. Meghalaya’s young people are crying for employment; the poor do not get access to proper medical facilities. Ordinary people who suffered from Covid-19 are in debt. Rural areas have no access to roads; parents are weeping because they can’t pay their children’s school fees. Teachers feed their children without salary for months; high inflation continues to skyrocket and drains public money overall. People believe there is a hidden agenda of the Government as these occurred synchronously. The MDA Govt. likes to blame others for their wrong deeds and even blame the Government of India for their failures. Oh! What a shame for the state government. As one of the senior BJP leaders stated, “they go to Delhi to get Meghalaya’s funds every time with begging bowls.” In the name of DEVELOPMENT and COVID, money is spent from all sources along with the central compensation availed. They are using public money by giving it to a few pockets at the cost of the people’s plight.
The people of Meghalaya should demand that the government should develop a relationship of trust among people. The government is to empower state residents to help keep governance accountable. Effective law enforcement must ensure that the corrupt are punished so as to break the cycle of lawlessness or the freedom from punishment or loss. Encouragement of openness boosts public sector efficiency while promoting citizens involvement in a state.
The political conflicts of interest recently merged with a few politicians’ selfish ambitions. This current political scenario is ridiculous and has worsened the situation. The drama is that in Meghalaya, there is no opposition party to openly voice corruption in government. We the people are the opposition, as one of the senior Congress leaders recently stated. The ideology of the NPP wins at last, others like the Congress, BJP, AITC, UDP, HSPDP, and PDF are mute spectator of the crucial drama. Meghalaya, more than any state in India, suffered the worst. The trend is dangerous; everybody likes those they consider Bosses for personal interests. The BOSS is different from the LEADER. The Boss commands and controls the Leader leads. We need LEADERS; Time has its course to stamp out the oppressors. Bette Davis once said, “If everyone likes you, you’re not doing what is right.” Many of whom we term as leaders are professional manipulators. Politicians should be aware that the agenda of greed has poisoned human souls.
In our daily lives, we are constantly changing. We change the channels on our TV screen, change dresses, hobbies and so forth. These changes are minor and widespread; yet, significant changes, such as changing the government’s leadership, are rare but full of possibility. If we believe that it is possible, it is possible. Once the belief system changes, the political game in Meghalaya can easily change. The state’s people desire a political change, and it is conceivable. When a group of people believes that the government maltreats them and does not support them, while the government believes what they’re doing is OK, the tension between citizens and the government emerges. The public must embrace the imposed way of life, or the government must be convinced to do things differently to restore harmony in our society. These are politicians and cannot be designated as leaders.
On true leadership, Myles Munroe’s famous quotation says, “Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, motivated by a passion, generated by a vision, produced by a conviction, ignited by a purpose.” Do all our present politicians in Meghalaya qualify at least on one of these qualities? These challenges can be overcome if we are serious as people of the state. Leadership appeals to hope, faith, and success for a better Meghalaya. I conclude with this humble request to all responsible citizens to reason together with J.S. Mill’s quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Silence is the enemy of democracy!