Just nice sounding

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/4/2018 11:40:52 AM IST

 When it was conceptualised during the mid-70s as a successful model for people’s participation in decision making, the Village Development Board(VDB) became the phrase of the state government and an opportunity for showcasing. Padmashree A.M.Gokhale who served as DC Phek observed the functioning of village republic especially in decision making. This concept was embraced and taken to the higher levels as VDB. The system of local government or self government by the community at the village or block community level, is democracy at the micro level. 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 discovered. The second evolution was initiated by then chief secretary R.S.Pandey and adopted at the state level as a policy when the VDB concept was modified and amplified as ‘Communitisation’ in 2002 as an Act. The objective of the Act was to empower the community and delegate the powers and functions of the state government to the local authorities(VDB/Village Councils etc). The VDB concept won accolades and awards for the state and those bureaucrats who successfully adopted it as policy. There are perhaps a number of reasons as to why was communitisation thought as a necessary panacea for governance. Probably part of the answer lay in the fact that the state government was grappling with absenteeism among employees, poor infrastructure and maintenance and corruption at various levels. Perhaps the core objective of communitisation was to involve the community in the process of planning, formulation and monitoring of health programme/activities. The other was delegation of power through amendment of financial rule that gave sanctioning authority to local drawing and disbursing officers. There is no doubt that the Naga traditional concept of local self government or village republic as it may, was given its modern version of VDB for village or block level and increasing the sphere to cover other government service sectors as communitisation, to provide a system which is as basic as the traditional system. As much as there have been successes, there are also as many, if not more failures in the modified and codified versions of the traditional concept. At a function held in Kohima recently, minister of PWD Tongpang Ozukum has called for a review of communitisation since there have been notable failures in the sectors such as health, education, power etc. What both the minister of PWD(Ozukum)had said was confirmed by Advisor school education K.T.Sukhalu, at the same programme. Sukhalu recalled that while he was in government service, he came across a practise whereby a village council resolved that proxy teachers need not go to work but agree to give the village council Rs.4000 and that the council will also appoint its own candidates. The khushi-khushi syndrome that is widespread in Nagaland has been used to connive and defraud many projects and schemes. Even with regard to power, communitisation has created more problems to the department that is saddled with perennial power shortage and mismanagement. There is need to seek answers about how bills are created on the basis of non-supply and how much is collected. In short , communitisation has replicated a similar clone of those who have been ruining and not running the system and if so, then it has perhaps lost relevance.

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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