Govt should act as enabler: Rio

Govt should act as enabler: Rio
Neiphiu Rio speaking at the inaugural programme at Hotel Vivor.
Correspondent KOHIMA, OCT 10 (NPN) | Publish Date: 10/10/2018 11:32:02 AM IST

As expectations of citizens were always higher than what the government could deliver, chief minister Neiphiu Rio advocated the need for the government to act more as an enabler rather than a regulator. 

He further said: “Good governance is not an option of governments, it is a basic right for all citizens and we are duty bound to provide it.” Rio said this while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Regional Conference on Good Governance Initiatives under the theme “Capacity Building/Technology/Best Practices by Aspirational Districts” held at Hotel Vivor, organised by Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India and hosted by Nagaland government.

Expressing happiness at being able to host the conference, Rio remarked that “good governance” was his government’s top priority, adding his government had taken several steps in this regard. He said as very often the government remained busy resolving conflicts and overcoming constraints, it lost sight of the basic objectives of good governance. 

Stating that introduction of Aadhaar had ensured that benefits reached the targeted audience, he mentioned that spread of banking and mobile telephony had enabled direct benefit transfers (DBT), while Jandhan-Aadhaar -mobile trilogy had helped in better implementation of government schemes – whether it was scholarships or MNREGA. However, adopting DBT and digital payment was a challenge for a State like Nagaland because of the limited outreach of banks with many blocks still remaining unbanked, he added.

Similarly, he said though Digital India was the new mantra all over the country, there were districts and blocks in Nagaland and other North Eastern States that suffered from poor connectivity. To truly benefit from the mobile and banking revolution, the chief minister stressed focusing on improving connectivity and bank network in this part of the country. There were 14 Aspirational districts in the North East, including Kiphire, but he mentioned that it was a 10-hour journey by road from Kohima.

Pointing out that physical distance translated into a developmental gap, Rio explained how recent monsoon rains that devastated many parts of Nagaland had also cut off Kiphire district. He said the cost of sending a truckload of from Dimapur cost almost Rs 80,000 to 1,00,000 per trip, which led to increase in prices of essential commodities that had a direct impact on ordinary people’s lives.

He said districts like Mon and Longleng also fared low on development indices, for which there was a need to adopt them as Aspirational Districts. He also suggested adoption of Aspirational Blocks to ensure that all poor and backward regions were targeted to help ensure their development.

Asserting that capacity building was another key requirement in the Northeast, Rio said there was a need to constantly learn and innovate so that better services could be delivered, adding that aspirations and expectations of citizens had risen and they demanded best of services in education, health, infrastructure and other sectors.

In this regard, he said there was a need to learn more, adopt best practices and ensure that successful models were replicated.  

He underlined the need to focus more on initiatives that were sustainable and urged the department of administrative reforms and public grievances (DARPG) under Union ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions to organise more training programmes for State government officials to help them upgrade their skills.

Admitting that the level of frustration and negativity in society vis-à-vis the government was a big challenge, the chief minister said systems needed to be made transparent to prevent allegations of nepotism and corruption.

He exuded confidence that the outcome of the conference would not only help the North-eastern States, but also provide solutions and answers that could be replicated anywhere in the country.  

In his address, DARPG secretary KV Eapen said the aim of the conference was to provide a common platform to share experiences in formulation and implementation of best practices in good governance.

He mentioned that besides participation from the North-eastern States, there were also officials from Bihar, Kerala and Chhattisgarh governments taking part in the conference.

Referring to Kiphire, he said improving the quality of life in Aspirational Districts would be discussed at the conference. 

Along with this conference, Eapen said a national conference on e-governance would also be held to evaluate all e-governance services provided by various States as there had been no clear study whether they were delivering what they were actually supposed to for the common citizen.

He said one of the activities of his department included giving away Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration on the occasion of Civil Services Day on April 21 for implementing four priority programmes every year, as well as for innovations.

He informed the gathering that there were also awards for Aspirational Districts in innovation category and asked the North Eastern States to apply for the award.

Explaining that the conference aimed at improving governance so that there was replication from one State to another, he regretted that most North-eastern States were not even aware of the good practices within the States for replication.

He cited the instance of Sikkim’s good governance, which could be replicated by other States of the region, but yet there was no platform to exchange. He said the conference aimed to exchange information of good governance and innovations happening in the inspirational districts within the region.

Earlier, commissioner and secretary Abhishek Singh delivered the welcome address while the vote of thanks was proposed by additional secretary AR&PG, Vasudha Mishra. A film on Prime Minister’s award initiatives was also screened during the inaugural programme.


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