Eureka Time!

Irtif Lone

And the government finally had this one eureka moment in store before upcoming assembly elections. Whatever had gone wrong in the last five years of this government could be set right in a jiffy. They realised the need to create some 659 new administrative units and formed, thus the decentralization. The delegation of authority to the lowest levels of these units, which would give people power and improve their lives.

The idea of decentralisation is not new to democracy; it has been done in the past and would be followed in the future. It is an attempt to persuade development in otherwise depressed areas with grants, loans, tax concessions and other such means to improve the living. To make administration available to the people, so that their problems are solved with urgency and that they do not suffer at the lack of good governance.

While all this good was being done, did no one in the government once think of its consequences on the state ex-chequer, which already has a very high employee to population ratio?

In coalition politics, partners often blame each other for the wrong doings and credit themselves with whatever good the government has to offer. And somehow the relations begin to sore in the last year, somewhat suddenly.  Irrespective of the fact that both partners are actively running the government, the internal bickering continues sometimes just to fool people and strengthen their respective vote banks.

In last five years even in the most disturbing situations, one never heard the Chief Minister threatening to resign except when he had to get these new administrative units passed in the cabinet. One would actually think, really? On this matter you want to resign? But then in politics anything can happen and this issue had somehow become the matter of life and death.

But, then let’s not get into the resign or continue part of the story.  And keep our focus on the new administrative units.  These new administrative units come at a price. One that new infra structure needs to be created to provide space for these administrative units to function and that would cost not less than some Rs. 1500 crore, as per the estimates by the other coalition partner, Congress. And that’s not it, new recruitments need to be done which might sound as a good news to some 6 lakh educated but unemployed youth of the state but then for the state which is already choked by the salary bill of Rs. 15,000 crore annually it won’t be easy in least to add a couple of thousand crores more.

A few years back in Congress-PDP coalition under the leadership of Ghulam Nabi Azad, eight new districts were carved out of the fourteen already existing districts, but then many of them still lack the basic infra structure and Human resource to run these offices for their proper function, not to talk of when these smaller administrative units will be made fully functional to acquire the desired results. And with the kind of corruption that is rampant in the state, it becomes increasingly difficult to do the same.

Somehow if the eureka moment of the government would have been on corruption and the performance of employee’s, it would somehow sooth the wounds of a common man being mistreated at the hands of government officials. It is very important to improve the processes of government functioning rather than keeping adding the numbers.

Still, even with these economical difficulties if this idea would bear any fruit and end the woes of commoners, it might become a risk worth taking.


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