Institutional development gets
There is much that does
not meet the eye with regard to our most vital public sector
institutions and we believe we would be doing these state
agencies a grave injustice by not presenting to the public a
balanced assessment of these bodies, which very often prove to
be the mainstays of the people. All may not be well with quite a
few of these institutions but a blanket denigration of these
organizations is most unjustified because there are more than a
handful state institutions that work indefatigably towards the
common weal, very often silently and unsung.
However, there is an unfortunate tendency among sections of
the public to stereotype state sector institutions as
inefficient, corrupt and dysfunctional. The public may have good
reasons for doing so, but there are many institutions that rise
to the occasion and put their best foot forward in the service
of the public and these organizations should come in for public
applause. The state health sector, for instance, is bedeviled
with seemingly incurable ills but the primary healthcare needs
of the people are served by the majority of our state hospitals.
In their haste to damn our healthcare system over a few
regretful lapses, fault-finding sections overlook these
perennial merits of the public health structure.
It must be recollected in this connection that if not for the
continuous functioning of the state welfare system, the
North-East public would not have been provided their essentials
while the conflict raged over those woeful 30 years. Over this
period, the agencies of the state continued to serve the public
in those war-torn provinces and this, of course, helped in the
sustenance of the public. It must be also borne in mind that if
not for the vibrant presence of the agencies of the state during
the humanitarian operation of May 2009, citizens in their
hundreds would have had to confront extreme material hardships.
So, there is more than meets the eye in our state sector and
more often than not the public service is subjected to unfair
criticism. It is also perhaps a case of taking the sector for
granted, since it is a ubiquitous and durable presence among us.
The very fact that the system generally functions smoothly,
notwithstanding some glitches, and is always close to the
people, may be breeding among the more irresponsible sections, a
sense of aversion for the sector. A question, perhaps, of
familiarity breeding contempt.
Be that as it may, we believe state sector institutions can
rise to remarkable heights and when they do so, they reveal
their true potential and inner strength. Hopefully, those many
critics of the sector would be quick with a word of praise for
them, when they conduct themselves exemplarily, because the
citizenry is duty-bound to sustain the morale of these
organizations which are with them through thick and thin.
There is the case of the Police Department, for instance,
which is subjected to the harshest criticisms in some quarters,
but which very often serves the public remarkably well. For
instance, when a doctor of the North-Central Province was badly
assaulted recently by a mob which apparently enjoyed political
patronage, the Police were quick on the job of arresting the
hoodlums and in subjecting them to justice. This is just one
recent instance where the Police have discharged their duties
without fear or favour. But the Police have discharged their
functions with such exemplariness times without number.
The same goes for the Elections Commission. We note that the
Commission is now stretching itself considerably to ensure free
and fair elections. On many an occasion it has put a halt to
unfair electioneering and local democracy would be the better
off for such resourcefulness coming from the Commission. We also
note that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery
or Corruption too is now going about its chores with a new
vigour as it were, quite unprepared to be daunted by the
powerful. All these and more instances are the proof that state
sector institutions could grow to a substantial stature,
provided they exercise the necessary initiative and ensure that
they use all the powers vested in them. We hope these happy
trends would continue and that the sector would exploit to the
fullest its potentialities. These are the conditions for
institutional growth, which in turn ensures democratic vibrancy.