The slide witnessed by Uttarakhand in the index of the education quality and health services released by an agency none other than the NITI Aayog which is the policy think tank of Government of India, puts egg on the face of State administration and its governance. In the recently released education quality index, the Aayog has placed Uttarakhand at the 14th spot with a pathetic score of 48.15. In this index, the State had slipped by four points as compared to its position last year. An even bleaker picture of the State was presented by the Aayog in its rating of the States on health services index based on which the National Health Mission (NHM) makes budgetary allocations to the States. As a punitive measure, the NHM has penalised Uttarakhand by cutting down the incentive amount offered by it to the State. Call it an irony of the situation or a blessing in disguise arising out of a non-performing system, the penalty imposed would not affect the actual funding of the health system in the State as any incentive or cut in it is materialised only when the entire budgetary allocation is fully utilised. The Babudom of the Himalayan State has always made it sure that Central Budget in health sector is never utilised fully.
In an example of how things function in the institutions held in high esteem by the general public and how top officials of these elite institutes are influenced by their political masters, the mandarins of the NIT Srinagar, Garhwal are now showing keenness to get the institute back to Srinagar. One should recall the attitude of these very officials only a few months ago when they were unequivocally and steadfastly in favour of shifting the institution out of Srinagar as according to them the place was unsafe for the students. Buttressed by them, the students launched an agitation which resulted in a highly deplorable and unprecedented transfer of the students to Jaipur campus of NIT. Things changed in favour of the Himalayan State when Haridwar MP and former Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ took over the reins of the powerful HRD Ministry in the NDA Government. In the altered situation, the anti-Srinagar lobby of the institute changed its tone and tenor overnight and these officials are now resolving to restart the premier institution back in the enchanting Garhwal mountains.
It is apparent that the Babudom of the Himalayan State has gone on prolonged holidays in the festival season. One notices that in the corridors of the power, the top bureaucrats are conspicuous by their absence and in their absence the junior ones are enjoying the freedom. The ongoing process of Panchayat elections in the state which has resulted in the imposition of the model code of conduct in the state has further accentuated the inherent tendency of the Babudom to prorogue all works till this code is revoked at the end of the polls. Though technically the model code is effective only in the rural areas of 12 districts of the State, the Babus who have mastered the art of shirking work of any kind are using it effectively to their benefit. Apart from the general public, the scribes visiting the offices of the Babus for necessary inputs for their stories are facing the real brunt of these extended holidays, the Babudom of the State has set itself in.
Friday, 11 October 2019 | Gajendra Singh Negi
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