Editorial

Communitisation experiment

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/12/2019 11:58:08 AM IST

 ‘Communitisation’ was enacted in 2002 as there were reasons that sounded good but 17 years later, today, it has shown that it was not based on good sound reasons. It is supposed to bring development at the doorsteps of village or block levels through active participation of the community in planning and implementation. This was the practise among various Naga tribes since time immemorial but it was only during the mid-70s was it rediscovered. The government of Nagaland’s ‘experiment with communitisation’ has raised serious doubts about the efficacy of the concept while being put to practice. This newspaper since 2002 had made some observations about how embracing communitisation lock stock and barrel for almost every government department was not a wise step. Communitisation was inspired by the practice in some villages in Phek district (as well as many other villages in other districts) which adopted their traditional administrative system of grass root participation in decision making. It was around 1980s that this concept was picked up by A.M.Gokhale, then DC Phek. However, the Village Development Board(which later went on to be copied and renamed as panchayati raj) got a kick start when late Vamuzo was finance minister during the NNDP regime. Gokhale studied the practical aspects of the VDB concept and incorporated it to the district planning board. From VDB, it was during 2002 that then chief secretary R.S.Pandey took the concept to another level when it became known as communitisation. The state government enacted and legislated The Nagaland Communitisation of Public Institutions and Services Act, 2002, to cover power, water supply and education sectors empowers the community to own, manage and control government schools by vesting them with legal powers and responsibilities. Under the concept of communitisation, the government in phases, handed over ownership and management of education, health care, water supply, electricity, tourism and bio-diversity conservation to the communities. The concept envisaged that through communitisation of some government activities in the field of education and power, there would be improvement in promoting effective governance. In education, the village community was made to understand that schools belonged to the community and therefore, they had as much stake and responsibility to ensure that the schools functioned for the betterment of the children and youth. However, even the best of intentions on the part of the community members cannot overnight make them effective supervisors especially in the field of education. However, it became apparent, that communitisation, though an innovative concept that is well intended, also led one to be critical of the abdication of responsibility by the government. While communitisation has shared responsibility, yet it is the village committees who are in the field and who have to play the bigger role in supervising the schools. They are expected to give voluntary service and feel proud of their contributions, while the officers are more than pleased to have volunteers assisting them. The village committees on power are expected to collect payments from consumers then deposit with the department after taking 15% commission. On the other hand, those involved as members of education committees earn nothing. Communitisation may be practicable and effective with regard to village level planning and execution of works through community contracts but not quite in areas that demand some special qualities. Communitisation should not be thrown but reviewed and used only where it can be effective.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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