With the Mukul Sangma led Congress government at Meghalaya entering the fray of elections in 2018, the state has passed a law, which is innovative indeed and is a commendable move.
The Meghalaya government has passed a law The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Act, 2017, which is aimed to seek the feedback of the people about the performance of the government and its schemes. A similar feedback forum has been initiated by the PM using his NaMo app, and the twitter handles of various ministries.
The move has a very people-friendly aim and will usher in more inclusive approach to the people to provide them the exact knowledge needed to move along with the agenda of the policies that aim to help them.
Today, and as well in the past the governments, one after the other have rolled out policies that aim to grant benefits to people but many such policies have landed in a failure ditch due to rampant corruption, or mismanagement which has even led to rolling back of people friendly moves or even massive protests arising due to frustration in the masses.
The State is the largest service provider to the citizens yet none of the states so far have any ‘citizen-support’ system synonymous with the ‘customer-support’ operations of the consumer companies.
The governments have seen many initiatives fail due to the inability of the masses to contact their elected representatives. This has often led to a blockading of the aggrieved citizens who have approached the courts in huge numbers and there is an added pendency of cases where due to flawed applications of laws by the administrative machinery many people have been at the opposite end of the legislation. One of such beneficial legislation marred by maladministration has been the Land Acquisition disputes arising out of the Right to Fair Compensation Act, of 2013.
There are currently various cases pending not only in the Supreme Court, but also in various High Courts. Apart from these, there are cases where people have felt helpless and have resorted to running from pillar to post to get their grievances resolved.
The Social Audit, has been an exclusive preserves of civil society organisations, and none of the state sponsored agencies have ever taken pains to conduct an audit. The only inference that may be drawn from such instances is not manifold but, one, that the government must promote more social audits.
It is not just for the Meghalaya government, but for all the state and the Central government(s) to move forward in this direction, which will create an atmosphere of participation in the government.
There has been a need for referendum and initiative as in the Switzerland to be put in place in India as well, but due to various glitches involved, there is no pace in the direction. The Social Audit idea is one which deserves applauds as it is a move in this direction to promote the idea of inclusiveness in the people.
The governments must put in a system in place to record the feedback of the people related to the policies of the government and must use a system that is easy and accessible, with minimal costs involved to promote partnership with the people. This will help the governments stay in regular touch with the opinion of the masses regarding the policies put in place and the effectiveness of the governance.