by Heigrujam Nabashyam
Dr. Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, one of the most humane and sympathetic political leaders in the world, as Nobel laureate Amartya Sen distinguished him – is not known for rhetoric.
However, the respect Dr. Manmohan Singh commands in the international forum is commendable; even the American president, Barack Obama, the erudite and one of the bests eloquent speaker in the world, had appreciated Dr. Singh when he told the summit of the leaders of economically powerful and important countries of the world held sometime ago that the world listened to what Dr. Singh said. Indeed it is the substance that Dr. Singh says that is appreciated.
Speaking to the people in Bihar during the election campaign, Dr. Manmohan Singh made a substantive point that the Bihar government cannot claim credit for the development works that are taking place in Bihar because the funds are given by the Centre.
Allocation of funds to the states from the national exchequer is part of the arrangement of the state-system of India. The Planning Commission of which the Prime Minister is the Chairman is responsible for the allocation of funds to the states. This practice has been in place since India became a republic.
One may remember that both the centre and the states mobilize their own resources. However for the centre it is more expansive and ever growing, whereas that of the state is limited.
As for allocation of funds, although there is a norm, how much money a state gets is at the discretion of the Planning Commission. A rich state like Gujarat or Maharastra may not be given funds on the same yardstick as to a poor state like Bihar or Jharkhand or the extremely poor Northeast states. India, now an economic world power, spends massively on various development and welfare schemes which the centre considers beneficial to the aam admi-common man. The programmes are conceptualized on the All India or national character, which may not always hold good in Manipur. Witness how the universal education program the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or the UPA’s flagship job guarantee program, MNREGS or the food security schemes etc. are implemented. These schemes serve as mere political weapons in the hands of those in power by way of giving dole to their workers, than any meaningful service – an abject negation of the UPA government’s policy.
However, such schemes hold good and have made quite a difference in other states like the case of Bihar, where the Prime Minister said the government of Nitish Kumar cannot claim credit for the development in Bihar because the funds are provided by the centre, raising certain interesting points, apart from the election propaganda. Take the case of Manipur, which virtually lives on the grants of the Centre – from infrastructure development to the construction of gates. Indeed the Manipur Government acts as the implementing agency of the Centre’s welfare schemes and development programme.
The shameful truth is we fail to grow out of infancy – although we talk much of our history – when a similarly placed state like Tripura or Mizoram have gone much ahead of Manipur, reminding us how powerful knowledge is and how disrespectful are we to knowledge and yet how proud are we of our culture and our social mores which prepares us to lecture a Marwari on how to do business or teach a Lata Mangeskar or a Ravi Shanker to sing or to lecture a Pranab Mukherjee or a Ban Ki-moon on politics and diplomacy, etc. And to top it all, the SPF leadership would put into shame an Ashok chavan and probably dwarf the Madhu Kodas.
When the government of a state such as Gujarat or Maharastra boasts to contribute the maximum to the national exchequer, the government of a state such as Manipur boasts to receive the maximum dole from the national exchequer. So, according to the Prime Minister, no government of Manipur can claim credit for the development works because all the money are paid by the centre, including the amount of the most celebrated percentage of the powers that be !
However there are plenty of areas where the SPF government can claim credit for achievement, and they are – retrieving of law and order, which have been lost in the midst of utter misrule, gun culture and AFSPA; transparency and accountability ; financial probity ; checking corruption in high and the highest office, which is the source of most ills of Manipur; prompt and responsiveness in dealing with problems and issues; timely execution of development works; vision and plan to tackle the awesome unemployment, etc. the list just goes on.
Now, a look, cursory or detail – whichever way one looks – on retrieving the lost law and order or on transparency and accountability or on financial probity or prompt and responsiveness to problems and issues or on checking corruption, the records of the last eight years of the SPF government show that the leader of the government has taken advantage of the problems of militancy to the full. The absence of the national media and the sheer ineffectiveness of the local media, have also been a boon to it. Records speak volumes of utter misrule, massive corruption, and non-transparency in the dealings and working of the government.
The situation calls for serious scrutiny by the central authority of specific cases – there are specific cases – which could be caused by the Prime Minister’s Office as it did in the case of Jharkhand, Bhiar, U.P. etc. in the interest of the nation.
As regards schedules for example, one may remember that the works of the three Ima Keithels which are being opened by the UPA Chairperson, was sanctioned by the Vajpayee government way back in 2002. However the excuse of the SPF government would be law and order, Dharnas by the Ima, highway blockades etc. which are the result of its own misgovernance and mishandling of problems and issues, and of course, the militants – its favourite whipping boys, too are there. One must understand that steering clear of hurdles, blockades etc. on the way is the job of the leadership which could be done in much better ways as earlier governments did.
As for vision and plan to tackle the frightening unemployment; in its eight years of rule – now it is ninth year – the leadership have never mentioned either on the floor of the House or in public, the government’s vision and plan to tackle the six lakh plus job seekers. This is terrible even American president Obama takes utmost care to create more jobs for Americans in dealing with India in his present visit. The government which is endowed with unprecedented central funds fails fail to lay out a plan to tackle a basic problem in its eight years of rule.
It may be surprising to note that of the 38 years’ span-of-statehood, funds given to Manipur in the last eight years have surpassed the total of that of the remaining thirty years. But what is amazing is, the sufferings and miseries of the people in last eight years have far exceeded – records speak – the records in any previous government. It would be in the best of interests of the nation if the Governor of Manipur, apprise the Prime Minister of the kind of governance the Ibobi Singh government delivers to this wretched most state, Manipur; or has one any doubt about this ?
Author is ex-candidate of Singjamei Assembly Constituency, Manipur.