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Rio tells VDBs to perform

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio and former chief secretary and current union secretary under the ministry of oil and petroleum R.S.Pandey speaking at state-level VDB and communitization conference. (NP
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, Nov 30 (NPN):
Published on 1 Dec. 2009 12:41 AM IST
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State chief minister Neiphiu Rio stressed on the need for effective implementation of the VDB in Nagaland where villages need to focus on achieving excellence by competing with one another at block and district levels. He said such competitiveness would encourage performing ones while the government would deal with those non-performing ones. He was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural function of the first ever state-level VDB and communitization conference held at Ganeshnagar(the special industrial zone of Nagaland)near Dimapur Monday. He also reminded the mammoth gathering on the formulation of the VDB by its pioneers- former state bureaucrat Padmashree A.M.Gokhale and former chief secretary and current union secretary under the ministry of oil and petroleum R.S.Pandey.Rio said the communitization formulated in Nagaland had received worldwide recognition when the state won the UN Award for Public Service in 2008 and the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Adminstration in 2007. The chief minister also repeated his earlier appeal to the VDBs to provide correct census in their areas for the forthcoming census of 2011. He said the erroneous and highly inflated census for 2001 had caused problem for prospective planning for Nagaland. “Everything will go wrong if we give wrong census” he asserted. Giving an example of the constant literacy rate of 60 % and above as shown by the state, Rio opined that the rate might be around 80% but owing to wrong census available to Education department, it was otherwise. He reminded that providing correct census would enable the building of trust between the community and the government for marching ahead into the future. Appreciating the positive attitude and enthusiasm of Naga youth especially entrepreneurs, Rio expressed hoped that the state would change from a consumer to a producer of goods and services. He later called upon the people to work together in partnership so that the state can march forward. Former chief secretary and currently secretary ministry of petroleum and natural gas government of India, R.S.Pandey, one of the pioneers of Communitization,shared his experiences on the VDB.Pandey disclosed that UN public service award received by state on June 23 last year was a feat achieved only by 12 recipients and Nagaland being the only one from Asia and Asia Pacific. “Social capital in the villages has been utilized in the forms of VDBs and Communitization” he added. Dwelling on the tremendous natural resources available in the state, Pandey called for exploiting the resources and share the benefits among the people and at the same time cautioned of wasting it away if not utilized within the next 20-30 years. He stressed mainly on utilizing the crude oil fields and natural gas and urged both the government and people to solve the issues at the earliest. At the same time he also stated, “There were problems and there are problems”. Terming the VDB and Communitization in the state as prized possessions, Pandey called for triggering some kind of intervention from outside so that the tremendous social capital could be utilized in the form of unique programmes like VDBs and Communitization. Stating that the third way of government was composed of both government and community, the former chief secretary said that communitization was not an end process but has to be nurtured by bringing in qualitative changes, more extensiveness and responsibility. “Due to all the efforts put in, VDB and Communitization has emerged as a model” he added. Giving a sketch on the petrol and diesel consumption of the state, which he informed was pegged at 12 % and 33% respectively, Pandey added that it was twice than the national average and said that it certainly showed the brisk economic activity going on within the state. However he also lamented that the target of being the number one state within 10 years during his tenure was not achieved. Former chief secretary Lalhuma who also spoke at the programme acknowledged the strong urge of the Nagas for self governance, a strong village administration, loyalty to their roots and receptivity to innovative ideas and programmes. He also added that it was these qualities which had paved way for successful implementation of VDB and Communitization programmes, NEPED, Bamboo, Honey Missions etc. While at the same time he also acknowledged the strong political will of the Naga politicians and stated that it only spoke volumes of the political leadership in permitting and supporting the schemes. However Lalhuma also asked how far the VDBs have performed in fulfilling the objectives for which they were set up particularly in resource generation paving way for flow of institutional credit to facilitate the acceleration of development and imbibe banking culture. He also questioned whether the VDBs have become complacent in making extra efforts to maximize benefits under the Matching Cash Grant (MCG) programme. “Why is it that only 35% of VDBs have availed the maximum admissible MCG of Rs 2.50 lakhs?” he asked . He also stressed on transparency in management of funds and regular financial audit while emphasizing on healthy relationships between the Village Council and VDBs. He also called upon the VDBs to partner with communitised institutions not for solely for maintaining the assets created but in creating better infrastructure with increasing resources available to them. Earlier during the programme the chief minister also released a book authored by R S Pandey titled “Commutisation-The third way of governance”. Naga Idol finalist Kenei also presented a special number “Wind beneath my wings”. Representatives of VCCs, VDBs, VECs, VHCs, VEMBs and WATSAN also delivered short speeches.

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