Meghalaya ADCs not keeping up with technology

Editor,

This is an appeal to the Chief Minister of Meghalaya (who runs an IT Company) to kindly set aside funds for urgently introducing information technology and manpower, training in the three District Councils of Meghalaya. A time has also come for the ADCs to be absorbed into the “Department of Tribal Affairs” because it is a tragedy for us to continue to be chained to the incompetence of the ADCs. The top political leaders of our state now and in the past have all turned a blind eye about upscaling the working of the ADCs and have only used to suit their electoral fortunes. In fact all MLAs and MDCs continue to use the Sixth Schedule only for their vested interests. What have they achieved through the Sixth Schedule? Can we list those achievements?

One small example: For years NGOs like KSU, HNYF, HYC, FKJGP, and so many vigilante groups go around town to harass and shut the shops of non-tribals. Things would have been so simple if the ADCs had wisely spent their earlier central grants of almost Rs 1000 crores in upgrading their IT systems. Instead of urgently introducing IT to make governance more effective and also appointing professional companies to issue Online Trading License in one day which would have made things easier, they are appointing more and more staff as political patronage. In many areas such as the issuance of passports etc., human interface has been reduced as long as one has all the documents. The same could be applied to all other applications. They should happen online. Of course, this will also limit the scope for bribing, blackmailing etc, by unscrupulous employees and politicians in the ADCs. Why can’t all NGOs engage with the State Government on the real purpose and the effectiveness of the ADCs as they lack legislative competence on a number of issues?

Yours etc.,

E Syiemiong, MA, DU,

Shollong-2

 

Rafale deal and investigative journalism

Editor,

This refers to your editorial, “Delayed Rafale deal” (ST, April 11, 2019). In its order on the Rafale deal, the Supreme Court of India has rightly drawn a parallel with the US Supreme Court’s verdict on unhindered publication of the Pentagon Papers and held that the publication of three documents by the Hindu newspaper on Rafale was in consonance with the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. In the 1971 historic legal battle between the US executive and the fourth estate, the US Supreme Court had thwarted the Nixon administration’s attempt to block the publication of information on the Vietnam War.

While rejecting the Government of India’s plea that the review petition on the Rafale deal was not maintainable as they were based on “stolen” documents, the Court said, “No law enacted by Parliament specifically barring or prohibiting the publication of such documents on any of the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) of the Constitution has been brought to our notice. In fact, the publication of the said documents in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper reminds the Court of the consistent views of this Court upholding the freedom of the press in a long line of decisions commencing from Romesh Thappar vs. State of Madras and Brij Bhushan vs. The State of Delhi.”

It is clear that the government’s argument is about ethics ~ about the way those documents had been procured and not about its authenticity. Moreover, by tagging the documents as “stolen”, the government has given a seal on their authenticity.

The question is : Can the fourth estate investigate the dealings of the executive, even sometimes crossing the boundary of the Official Secrets Act? The answer lies in the counter question : What then is investigative journalism all about? It is true that one is not supposed to peep inside another’s bedroom. But if someone has heard a rattling noise coming out from that bedroom, must not he/ she then peep inside and raise an alarm?

Yours etc.,

Sujit De,

Via email

 

Of varied political ideologies

Editor,

Every person has a right to their political views. As a regular reader of your newspaper I see that you allow all kinds of views and also the rejoinders to those views from readers. Hence it is unbecoming  of people to take offence when someone reacts to such views. We are all discerning readers; we know which political party or ideology a person leans towards even when they cloak their views with platitudes.  There are many in our city that believe in Prime Minister Modi as their leader for reasons they are entitled to. There are others who may or may not express their views publicly who feel that the BJP has an agenda that is antagonistic to the well-being of religious minorities and tribals in this region. The actions of the BJP as a party and the RSS as the  driving force have not given us reasons to feel safe. In the name of national security the BJP has been quelling  all dissenting voices within the country and using labels like ‘tukda tukda gang’, ‘urban naxals’ et al.  Does it mean that all who disagree with the BJP-RSS are enemies of the country? This is too narrow a prism through which to view a nation as diverse as India. Political parties are elected to govern, not to divide the country.

Yours etc.,

PR Synrem ,

Via email

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