Will the funds alone do?

Karanvir Gupta
Looks like the times old tradition of pumping money is the best solution politicians (better say Government) find to detract a problem, answer the media queries, do an image makeover or divert the attention. Of late all what I have happened to come across is mere extraction of the long held money, or allotting new funds for different long held projects or the freshly baked ideas that definitely come as a part of long term strategy of the now Coalition Government in the State. But to my dismay (and I am sure to the dismay of many other citizens), the question remains ‘Will the funds alone do all the good?’
Recently after the reprimanding by the HRD ministry, the Government released Rs155cr for the SSA (Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan) which is just the part of Rs500cr withheld for the last financial year (under the regime of the previous Coalition Government). The point of concern here is that does the operations and financial payments have to be at the mercy of the Government and the party at the helm of affairs? These are standardized process and should have standardized procedures at place. After all, without salaries being paid, how do we even expect the workforce to deliver what they ought to? After all it is a cause and effect problem. The word for the problem is PROFESSIONALISM. I have always failed to understand that is it a mandate that public work has to meet the fate of lackadaisical attitude?
Almost all the times, interventions are needed to push the people/authorities and assigned dignitaries to move the files, release the funds or the situation to reach the dire end for the necessary action to take place which should have taken place long before. The example at hand is the Ring Road project in both the capital cities for which Rs3000cr has been sanctioned. The decision comes after the worse conditions that were seen in last year floods. Why we have plans, programs and funds after all the disaster has taken place? The one word is FORESIGHT. We can’t keep learning from our mistakes, we need to be pro-active or else we will be doomed to chaos and stagnation. What should have been done as part of Urban Planning and infrastructure Management years back is getting initiated now. What matters more is how successful it would be!
Two days before during the marathon visit of various parts of Jammu by Chief Minister, Rs20cr was sanctioned for Panjtirthi multi-level parking. Oh yes definitely needed and much thanks to him for granting this amount. But the question remains ‘Will the funds alone do all the good?’ We are stuck in old school model of releasing money, getting the approval of funds from all the corners we can. But what happens to that money, where it really goes, has it been put to use effectively and efficiently; all these questions remain stranded and unnoticed.
Townships, Cities and Infrastructure projects are not one time capital investment, they need running money to keep the systems from deteriorating and stay in good condition. And before that they need sound planning and thought process that takes into consideration the situations/conditions prevailing 10 years down the lane. Though the Governments call these works as projects and place that black marble for their names to be etched forever so that people remember under whose reign the project was started. Unfortunately nobody tracks the development of the projects and the condition once the projects have started.
All I want to say is it is high time we deal the projects as projects in real sense, get out of the political strangles and mere funding game. If any party and its representatives (work for that matter), it reflects and will definitely be appreciated by the public. You might as well save the buck as you won’t have to sell your story in the next electoral polls. The Governments and all the public bodies involved need to understand monetizing is a very small part of the whole process. In fact one needs to pay heed to the 3 Step fundamental of “Monetize Execute  Maintain (M.E.M)” . This shall take care of everything indeed. If these three things are done well, the whole scenario will be at better state of affairs. And this should keep going irrespective of the party at the seat (and the political scene). It’s time we demarcate the thin lines between politics, policies and the public good.
(The writer is an IIM Shillong Alumnus.)