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Aquaculture Mission

The Government’s Integrated Basin Development and Livelihoods Programme (IBDLP) has several verticals each one called a ‘mission.’ Perhaps the idea is to drive each one on a mission mode. But it is one thing to have a mission and it’s another to implement it. Implementation has always been the difficult part of any government scheme and the IBDLP too has its share of hiccups. What has been most visible and seems to have been resonated well with people is the Fisheries related activity within the Aquaculture Mission. When the team leader is committed to making things work and is able to motivate the entire bureaucracy down to the technicians then results are bound to happen.

The inauguration of the State Fisheries Research and Training Institute at Mawpun, Umroi where fingerlings would be produced in sufficient quantities to provide to fish farmers from the State would make Meghalaya self reliant in fish seeds. It has taken a long time for the training centre to come up because that is how governments work. The money for this project was provided by the Agriculture Department and it is good that a convergence point has emerged between Agriculture and Fisheries which for a long time have been functioning independently. One of the basic characters of the IBDLP is convergence between different line departments. This is easier said than done because it is the character of government departments to function in silos. In such a situation that right hand never knows what the left hand is doing. Normally it would be easier to hold people working independently and in silos accountable but not in the government because of the layers of bureaucracy and the inability to make the wheels within wheels to grind anything except to bring the entire machinery to a grinding halt.

The other verticals in the IBDLP include tourism, agriculture, and horticulture amongst others. These other missions have not taken up at the desired speed. Institutions for governance of all these missions have been created but there is still a lack of coherence. It is therefore surprising that an agency for evaluating the scheme is already under way. We can only hope that it does an objective critique so that mid-course correction can be effected if required. The IBDLP is a people-oriented project. The bottom line is it has to bring meaning to peoples’ lives.

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