Responsive & Capable State

To run a State as compared to say running a family or a business enterprise, it is not the easiest of task and also one should not mix the two because one has to do with public welfare and the other centers around self aggrandizement. And when we speak of responsive and capable State or the lack of it in this case, perhaps the answer would lie in the failure to draw a distinction between public and individual interest. As an elected representative or public servant isn’t it the thumb-rule that one should work for the common good and not for one’s own self. Coming to the question of how the State of Nagaland has fared so far ever since we attained Statehood, obviously we have not been very successful when it comes to running the affairs of the State. At present we are facing a crisis of credibility as far as governance goes. Whether it is the present or past dispensation, we have failed to build an inclusive and responsive State. Here the first thing that we should be able to judge for ourselves is this: who has benefited the most or least. In other words has the fruits of development accrued to all section of our people or has it benefited only a handful of the privileged lot? So let us answer this honestly and objectively without any bias or emotion—just the plain truth will do. We will leave it to the conscience of our readers, the people, leaders, political parties etc. This exercise should not be about who is right or wrong but what us the right thing for us to do and how we can learn from our experience as we step into the future with so much still to achieve in terms of our developmental goals. If we can do this truthfully and start to ‘walk the talk’ then Nagaland can perhaps become a better place.

We need to be honest in our appraisal of the crisis we are faced with: corruption, failing economy, public grievances or the development and governance deficit. The idea of the State cannot be wished away but what we can do is to revitalize this ideal; reform and rebuild the norms and institutions that go to make the State functional. Right now in Nagaland we are faced with a crisis of both legitimacy and credibility when it comes to the role and function of the State and its agencies—here the government of the day. Simply put, there is hardly any visibility of governance and human development. And it all boils down to mismanagement of our finances and resources. Because at the end of the day, a government has to be run on budgetary allocation, development has to be undertaken through funds generated or made available (in our case) through grants, schemes and special considerations. How well we earn, spend and manage our public money will define our State worthiness. Transparency, accountability and delivery of service are the hallmark of a responsive and capable State. The other question remains: what is the health and vitality of our institutions? After all, the ability of the State should be seen in the performance of its institutions. In Nagaland, we need our Legislature, Executive, Judiciary, Press and Civil Society to play their due role so that there is a healthy system of checks and balances. Then we will need a strong public administration and the rule of law to prevail. Eternal vigilance on the part of the public will guard against abuse of power. We need to take a time out and get ourselves better prepared—reorient to what it takes to build an inclusive, responsive and capable State.