Thursday, December 09, 2021

No Value for Money

By EMN Updated: Nov 09, 2013 7:06 pm

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]agaland woke up Friday morning to the disgraceful news of state election expense expenditure during 2013 crossing the Rs 900 crore mark, almost double that of 2008 (that is five years)
This figure was arrived in a Post Election Watch’ study report by YouthNet a pioneering NGO in the state to specifically working in youth related issues. So where do we go from here? It can only be downhill if certain checks and balances are not brought in.
It is virtually impossible to create a vibrant economy if the amount of money stated above is going to be spent without accountability. What then will be left for creating infrastructure roads, powers and bridges, maintenance, education, health, research, empowerment programmes, education, law enforcing agencies, the general wellbeing and welfare of the old, the children and the young? Health of the state is one that is closely linked with this endeavour as the organisation attempts to address the issue of ‘entrepreneurship’ amongst the youth.The report is an affirmation of whispers during election time of professional proxy voters who demand anything between a lakh of rupees to ten lakhs, depending on the clout the individual is believed capable of influencing.
Many will be uncomfortable with the revelations and still many more will attempt to distance themselves from the findings. But no one can deny the manner in which the game of politics is played in the state has come a long long way from the 1970’s when Nagaland was a fledgling state.
The older generation will clearly remember the times when ‘lal chai’ was the highlight at election meetings. How and when did we allow the simple values and clear thinking to erode our mortal mortar?
The changes have been taking place with every election as demands ‘progressed’ with a growing insatiable consumer lifestyle.
Gone are the days for political parties and aspiring candidates when a pen, a carrom board, a ‘gari bhara’ or even a mobile phone would have sufficed to woo a voter. Not for a moment suggesting that this is right.
Now the stakes have been raised as we learn from the report of individual votes … as much as Rs 5000/- and demand for vehicles as gifts
The ‘tradition’ of obtaining money in this manner for all the wrong reasons instead of earning it for productive work is damaging for the mind and the body. It renders the person completely helpless because he/ she knows no other skills.
Elections normally take place once every five years and are meant to give the public a chance to test their judgement on who will make the right leader and not who can become the richest. The malaise of corruption is also one that compromises on the truth being spoken.
Its ironical that only a week ago the public turned up in large number to support the ACAUT rally on illegal taxation and a week later the YouthNet report holds up a mirror to the Naga society that shows up the cracks in the larger picture. Here we are extorting from each other and definitely from the share of those less privileged. Since without a healthy budget at the beginning of a new government it would be a failed governance.
The steps that follow to educate the mass of the ‘sacred’ quality of the vote and the power that it wields to ensure the future of the next generation will hopefully be an agenda as this news spreads.
But for now the revelations in the YouthNet Post Election Watch has undoubtedly struck a resounding chord in hearts across all ages and tribes.

By EMN Updated: Nov 09, 2013 7:06:57 pm