Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Relief Quota

The training in Disaster Risk Management for Government officials of various departments, municipal departments and local elected bodies started in South Dinajpur district on 01 Nov and the first round of trainings will be over on 12 Nov, and again will restart on 20 Nov, and end on 23 Nov. It has been a very enriching walk back in the district as I had worked in the district through various development, health and disaster management programs. I could meet Mr. Banamali Roy, Block Development Officer (BDO) of Banshihari. He had worked in the Malda floods last year with me. Mr. Jayanta Das, Mrs. Reena, Mr. Subhash Topno, ….. all former colleagues who worked with me in various programs. Many new friends also have come up in all these blocks and in the district.

In Kushmandi block I came across an interesting situation which the block administrative officials shared with me. They said when the block administration saw that there are several people who are extremely poor and are destitute, and they need help, and arranged for the same, not only the political leaders, but even some of the lower level government officers objected to the same saying, “If you are planning to help them you do it yourself, and do all the works by yourselves. Or else, we have a quota, and follow the same!” In other words, each government officer has the “right” to help based on “his personal assessment”, and not on objective parameters. Be it a disaster response or help to any needy person, any objective assessment and assistance is abhorred and resisted. Well, I think, the anti-corruption group India Against Corruption should start working on these fundamental systemic issues rather than wasting their time in targeting individuals.

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