TODAY -

Transformation of government into governance in Manipur
(Changing complexion of civil society: an assessment)
- Part 3 -

Dhanabir Laishram *



COFPAI started its movement with the motto of peace, integrity and development of Manipur. For the successful reconciliation of conflict, it is necessary to have as its stepping stone, concepts and tools for the analysis of conflict, and also to identify the debatable issue of the conflicting parties.

For four months COFPAI surveyed all the hill areas and other places of Manipur to understand people's aspirations. In this survey, COFPAI volunteers visited 1500 villages and 915 camera meetings were held at different place during that period emphasizing communal harmony and fraternal ties of brotherhood.

The movement launched by COFPAI caught the imagination of all sections of population mainly younger generation of Manipur both hill and valley. Finally COFPAI could turn into practice the objective which was dreamed by its members.

The United Nations Development Programme (1977) has viewed governance as "the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a nation's affairs at all levels. It is the complex mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights and obligations, and mediate their differences".

UNDP has laid down following characteristics of good governance viz, participation, rule of law, transparency, responsiveness, consensus orientation, equity, effectiveness and efficiency, accountability and strategic vision.

Thus we have several interpretations of governance and use in several contexts. The way in which changes is taken place i.e. government, governance and good governance. New public management is relevant to the discussion of governance because steering is central to the analysis of public management and steering is a synonym for governance.

Osborne and Gaebler distinguish between 'policy decisions (steering) and service delivery (rowing)'.They argue that bureaucracy is a bankrupt tool for rowing. Hence, they propose entrepreneurial government based on certain principles, viz, competition between service providers, empowering citizens, focusing on outcomes, decentralization of authority, catalyzing all sectors, putting energies into earning money, missions and goals, etc.

New public management and entrepreneurial government share a concern with competition, markets, customers and outcomes. Governance calls for more steering, providing impetus to other forces, rather than rowing. The emphasis has thus been placed on 'enabling' rather than 'providing'.

Good governance means bringing about goodness in all the three sectors: government, civil society and corporate world including transnational corporations. Good governance is a tryst with trust, a commitment of the people, for the people, a social contract for the greatest good, and the collective conscience of the community.

From the above paragraphs, we come to understand that earlier the term 'governance' was used in a broader sense of government, which is not appropriate in present times.

Governance means more than maintaining law and order. In other words, we can say that it is a participative system in which those who are called upon to govern on behalf of the people are motivated with a will to giving their best, serving and doing well to the people, solving their problems and making their lives more liable, satisfying and enjoyable.

But before Manipur attain statehood (1972) and up to 1990, the ruling elites of the state were administering the state by their own wishes not based on people's choice and reflection. That is the outdated concept of government. It could be transformed into governance when the government makes partnership with the civil society and starting to open their eyes for giving economic values to people and protection of their rights.

One may come across such state function in later part of today's Manipur whether for the good of the greatest number or not is another question. The following discussion will give the real picture of it.

Basically, the question of good governance is raised if the state is fragile in character. In the fragile state the decision making and process of implementing it are not always based on people choice and reflection. So it has full of negative indices such as:

1. Electoral rigging and irregularities.
2. Protest demonstrations by the use of violence.
3. Anomic disturbances under-ground activities and armed attacks.
4. Political defections for selfish gains.
5. Fragmentation of political parties.
6. Suppression of dissent.
7. Idolisation of the rulers.
8. Glorification of the official ideology.
9. Political assassinations.
10. Politicisation of the armed forces.
11. Commitment of public services to the line of ruling party.
12. Wide corruption and maladministration.
13. Concentration of powers
14. Mass arrests and
15. Foreign interference in domestic matters.

In this political development of Manipur, one may put a question again that what the people are entitle to and what they receive? So, civil society is enthusiastically waiting the total quality management from both permanent and temporary executives. It indicates that we have need meaningful partnership for governance by large scale participation of masses as attentive publics.

Therefore in this paper, my effort is to examine the governance concern from civil society point of view and how it can go hand in hand. There are a number of aspects in this chapter.

Firstly, I seek to identify the various governments concern in Manipur since Chief Commissioner to today's government whether they are administering for the interest of the both hill and valley people or not.

Secondly, I intend to examine the civil society and its response to the government. In this analysis, one could easily see transformation of government into governance in Manipur. If it could be happened with its good governance, it can occupy the middle space by maintaining social, economic and political justice, automatically peace will be followed otherwise it could not be beyond the question.

(Concluded..)


* Dhanabir Laishram wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was posted on January 08, 2017.


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