TODAY -

People's Day Bridging the gap
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: May 17 2017 -



For too long, there has been a big gap between the elected Government of Manipur and its citizens. The successive Governments hardly bothered to understand the ground reality.

They (political leaders) were literally sitting in their own ivory towers, issuing orders and dictating diktats. The only time they came into contact with the people at grassroots level was at the time of election.

To most of the politicians, if not all, votes entitled to each citizen are highly valuable but the life of ordinary citizens and their concerns seldom matter to them.

Such was the disconnect between elected leaders and people at the grass-roots level. The gap was much wider between the people of hill districts and their elected representatives.

When the elected leaders were not in touch with the people, it was only natural that most of the policies framed by the legislators ended in utter failure.

Many policies, programmes and decisions adopted by the Government were opposed tooth and nail by the people. Such stiff resistance can be attributed to the Government’s failure to gauge people’s grievances and aspirations correctly.

But again, how could elected leaders understand citizens’ plight, grievances, concerns and aspirations when there was such a huge gap.

Bandhs, blockades and dharnas will remain regular features of contemporary Manipuri society as long as there is a gap between citizens and the Government.

Apart from bandhs and blockades, many of the criminal activities are rooted in this disconnect which has been there for too long.

The Government was right in seeking public co-operation for implementing projects and policies successfully. The missing part is regular contact. You cannot elicit cooperation from a man when you and the particular man are totally out of contact.

Chief Minister N Biren and his Government have, indeed, initiated a noble step by setting aside not one day but two days in a month for interaction between Ministers, MLAs, top bureaucrats and citizens.

The incumbent Government seems to have realised that there is a gap between them and the people which needs to be plugged in in order to pull out Manipur from the present mess.

Yes, elected leaders need to reach out to people at the grass-roots level. They must stop relying on the so-called official reports fed by bureaucrats for the so-called official reports are not always true.

Most of the official reports are either fabricated or compiled on the desk of Government offices without any field visit. The pattern runs like this.

The political bosses would order top bureaucrats to gather information about certain things and places. The top bureaucrats would pass on the order to middle-ranked officers who again pass on the order to their subordinate officials.

The sub-ordinate officials would compile the reports based on hearsay and their own presumptions. Thus the elected leaders are misinformed most of the time. State policies and programmes based on such fabricated and/or incorrect reports are always bound to misfire.

In short, there is a big gap between the Government and the people and this gap is one primary factor responsible for the systematic failures seen in every aspect of State administration.

Hopefully, the monthly interaction programme can bridge the gap. The coalition Government which is a little over two months old has put up a very good show but only time can tell how effective or fruitful its noble initiative is.

Just interaction and listening to citizens are not enough, Ministers, MLAs and the top bureaucrats need to act on what they heard and learnt from the monthly interaction programme otherwise it would be another futile exercise.



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