Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Recently, PM reached out to collectors with a plan on theme of “New India – Manthan.” The plan asks the district collectors and district administrators to make list of priorities of things needed to be addressed by 2022.
The citizen put lot of faith in DCs to deliver things across the spectrum of department. Many districts still lack basic services even when such schemes such as providing gas connection, providing electricity, providing irrigation support have been made simple to understand and more accessible. There is a communication gap which despite the advancement of technology in communication has happened. For instance, the BHIM app has not reached everyone in the country which provides an easy medium to digital transaction. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not getting the momentum as message has not reached the last man. GST has been a beneficial policy yet people have not been convinced about the same. Thus, all the initiatives taken at the top if have actually come to the bottom is not known. For the population, going through various tiers of government is a tedious process. So now the collectors have been directly reached.
In this mission mode plan, there is no top to bottom approach where a plan made at centre is implemented in state and district. Earlier the basic facilities were transport, electricity and water. Now they include education and health. The districts have to identify their problems and then formulate plan more suited to them. The collectors have to do manthan- brainstorm and prepare list of priorities applicable to their districts. Some district may be lagging behind in providing electricity and some in health. So a flexibility is given to them which will work through such diversities. When socio-economic conditions improve in the 100 most backward districts, it would give a big boost to the overall development parameters of the country. This puts an onus on the collectors of these districts to work in a mission mode.
This opens the door to new ways of funding and also designing policy. India has had homogenous policy design. The collectors are asked to go into the field and talk about the scheme. Know what facilities are available to people and what should be done to have peoples need fulfilled. Interaction with colleagues, intellectuals of the district, and students of schools and colleges will help them prepare a vision document, or resolution document for their district. This process will be a like a relay race- one collector will pass on the work to other collector upon transfer where the main goal will be to fulfill the priorities of the districts and emerge as winners.
There has to be a culture change. Collectors need more autonomy than they have. In last two decades, there is a new system. Every district, the state government appoints district minister, guardian minister who is supposed to be the super collector of the district. The central government has not reached them as they belong to political parties, sometimes different and then there is tussle of power which doesn’t lead to materialization of good projects on ground. The central government has to coordinate with state governments to make sure the beneficial projects reach the last mile and last beneficiary they are intended for.
Connecting the dots:
The central government reached out to the district administrators for solving the basic issues. Analyse if democratic decentralization helps in achieving democratic values.