Bold moves to check corruption
AMONG other recent developments, chief minister Nongthombam Biren Singh allowing visitors to carry mobile phones inside government offices in order to empower the public to use them as a tool for recording any corrupt practices as well as consumer affairs, food and public distribution (CAF & PD) minister Karam Shyam declaring that the public distribution system will be streamlined are certain to draw the attention of the state’s masses, who for long have been longing for a system through which qualified and deserving persons are not deprived of their rights. In the past, phones were perceived to be a security threat and were not allowed inside certain government offices like engineering departments, the secretariat complex and head offices of various directorates. Though restrictions imposed against carrying the communication gadget inside government offices might have had some valid points, the execution part of the ban order was often mired in controversy and led to heated exchange of words at the entry points on account of security personnel manning the gate favouring visitors familiar to them. Similar to the attitude of the men in uniform, the bold move by the BJP-led coalition government to do away with the ban on possessing one of the most essential items of the contemporary society will, however, have little bearing in checking corruption in case there is any hesitancy in pulling up and punishing the wrongdoers.
In sync with BJP’s pre-poll promises to accelerate development of the state and eradicate corruption from every aspect of administration, the new government, at the juncture, seems to be making the right moves in translating the assurances into action, with the latest order to ease restriction in carrying mobiles inside government offices testifying that the decision taken by the state cabinet for setting up an anti-corruption cell in the office of the CM’s secretariat followed by appointment of two officers to man the cell was not a cosmetic move. Another development which indicates that the government is determined to ensure equal privileges to the deserving citizens was minister K Shyam’s assurance to closely monitor distribution of government controlled items and assembly speaker Yumnam Khemchand’s announcement about detection/recovery of ‘lost’ NFSA rice, which were actually allocated for the beneficiaries of Singjamei assembly constituency. While stand of the CAF & PD minister will be vindicated only when he takes concrete decision as follow-up measures, the speaker promptly initiating investigation to trace the missing PDS rice should serve as a lesson for all elected representatives that the people’s mandate are assignment to improve the socio-economic condition of the citizens. Under no circumstance should the legislators assume that the votes were cast to hand them the rein of power for five years. With many among the council of ministers and those assigned the post of parliamentary secretaries being debutant legislators, their association with the government should be capitalised for ending the chronic problem of corruption and to herald a new era of development.