Dysfunctional Systems in Manipur

The current dysfunctional systems need to be revamped and properly followed and exemptions granted only where there is injury or disadvantage to specific individuals.

ByRK Nimai

Updated 4 Apr 2023, 4:36 pm

(Representational Image: Unsplash)
(Representational Image: Unsplash)


Manipur is facing the fallout of destroying established systems and one cannot blame a particular individual or group. When Manipur attained statehood in 1972, there was euphoria that Manipur will be ushered towards development with people’s mandate. For a few years, things went smoothly but then there was a slide from the mid 1970s.

To stop some faculty members of private colleges contesting in the general elections, without conducting any studies about the implications, many private colleges were converted to government colleges and there was turmoil in higher education with cadre A, cadre B and cadre less teachers and the subsequent mismanagement of all these led to serious deterioration of the quality of higher education.

At about the same time, about 107 aided schools were converted into government schools leading to utter confusions and many of the well known then aided schools were literally brought down to dust. The frequent transfers of teachers make the teachers unable to identify with the school leading to serious deterioration in the quality. Transfers during the peak of the session are the worst but are happening.

When India faced a near famine crisis in the mid 1960s, which was met with food-grains brought under PL 480 from the USA, there was a shift in farm cultivation.

Modern methods including growing of HYV seeds, use of chemical fertilisers, modern methods of cultivation like the Japanese method, etc were introduced and followed but the instructions issued by ICAR and IARI to use organic manures along with the chemical fertilisers were never followed.

People took the easy step to use only the highly subsidised chemical fertilisers sans organic manures as a result by now the quality of the soil has degraded so much that the concept of organic farming and natural farming has to be introduced.

Now there is a tendency to heap insult on the use of chemical fertilisers blaming all the ill effects on it though people tend to forget that its use made India a food secure nation.

The ill effect on health was mainly due to the use of chemical pesticides, which is still continuing and the tendency to blame chemical fertilisers for the ill effect on health mentioned by our political leaders is far away from truth.

Meta reviews of literature indicate that the nutritional quality of food does not deteriorate due to chemical fertilisers. Yes many of the chemical pesticides used have a serious deleterious impact on health and the change from chemical pesticides to bio-organics is rather slow as the efficacy of the latter is still poor vis a vis chemical pesticides but a more holistic approach towards farming can reduce the dependency on chemical pesticides.

Plastics are now ubiquitous and its impact on the environment is unsettling so much so that there are bans imposed on some of them, especially single use plastic but are still used widely as no alternatives have been developed.


Roads constructed without a proper drainage system and without proper base makes the quality of the roads poor leading to frequent repairs which also are not taken up timely.

Without a proper drainage system the roads are usually inundated after a shower and huge tracts of residential areas are under flood threat every monsoon.

With the hope to stop overflowing of water from the rivers and streams during monsoon the heights of the banks of the rivers are increased every year and with siltation the rivers are now flowing at the level of the surrounding areas and in the event of the flood which earlier last for a few days, it is now inundated for weeks, not only causing inconvenience but is also a health hazard.

The above are just a few examples of what the present citizens are facing and this is due to poor planning and management. In the past, there was a Work Advisory Board (WAB) for every department which used to sit sometime in May or June and chalk out the work to be executed during the year.

Since the programme was finalised by June or July, preparation starts and by the time the working season arrives the work can be implemented and completed in time. But now many departments just do not constitute the WAB and even in those which constitute, the sitting was usually held in February or March resulting in not executing any new work.

Merely because a work was approved does not mean it can be started immediately, the Administrative approval and expenditure sanction must be obtained first as without AA and ES no tender can be floated.

Tendering also takes time as there is a specified period for each step. Now the tendency is for the minister to decide the works which he does in consultation with the MLAs and others which takes a long time as there is no system.

This causes serious delay in the implementation. In almost all contracts, there is a condition that the work cannot be executed through sub-contractors but now in Manipur most of the works are executed through sub-contractor who do not have the requisite skill, experience and funding.  

Under Article 166 (3) of the Constitution the Rules of Business of the Government of Manipur was enacted and the provisions were to be followed. Under it every Minister was to issue an order delegating powers to the officers for proper and better governance. It is not possible and also not required that all matters should have the signature of the Minister as routine matters can be decided at the lower level.

This was followed till about the late 1990s but now no Minister issues such orders concentrating all the powers and work leading to delay and inconveniences. Ministers and senior officers are to look into policies and with limited time due to routine work, policy framing suffers.

Unfortunately some ministers are not even aware of the responsibility of the department he is holding and make public speeches which are laughable and pathetic.

Why has such deterioration happened?


The answer is complicated but one of the reasons is the limit imposed on the number of ministers by the 91st Constitutional Amendment of 2004 thereby giving additional power to the chief minister who though technically regarded as the first among the equals in the council of ministers has now become omnipotent as limited MLAs can become minister and any minister who do not see eye to eye with the Chief Minister can be dropped.

Another is the desire to control everything and sadly even transfer is becoming Kamdhenu, many of which are arbitrary and illogical. Efficiency is replaced by convenience and political returns.

Manipur is in the fifth from the last in the per capita income among all the states and if Manipur wants to rise there is a need to ponder and work out a system so that the people of Manipur can lead a comfortable life.

Despite claims that corruption will not be tolerated, it is still rampant everywhere. Some small baby steps have been taken like the action in the Revenue Department where some have been arrested but that is too little. Yesterday on 3rd April, one of my friends sent me a photograph of a food item whose shelf life is only 5 days in normal conditions, 10 days refrigerated and 16 days frozen with the date of manufacture printed as 04.04.23! It indicates the mischief of the manufacturer and the lack of supervision of the concerned agency.

If Manipur desires to go ahead, systems and proper planning must be put in place and followed. Systems are there under the various rules but the tendency to violate it through exemptions on a larger scale is creating havoc to the system.

There is a general belief in the government that once the cabinet approves, it is all legit. It is not and the fovernment can be hauled up in the court of law and a few instances have happened where the government was in the receiving end.

The current dysfunctional systems need to be revamped and properly followed and exemptions granted only where there is injury or disadvantage to specific individuals.

The tendency to upgrade employees along with the post should be a strict no no. Posts can be upgraded but the process of filling up must go through the process of promotion as prescribed by the Recruitment Rules. These are not recent developments but have been in practice for decades used by those with connections but need to put an end.

Policies with proper planning need to be framed even with the engagement of outside experts as governments do not have all the requisite skills and policies must be visited on a regular basis to ensure it keeps abreast with time.

Once a policy is put in place after consultation, it must be implemented in toto and not selectively or kept in limbo. Policies after proper planning are the key to move ahead or else Manipur will continue to dither.

(The views expressed are the writers' own)


First published:


manipur governmentcorruptionmanipur system

RK Nimai

RK Nimai

The author is a former bureaucrat, Imphal, Manipur


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