The latest initiative of the government throws open its door to the people. It is a wise strategy to let people know the government’s plans, intentions and policies.
It is even wiser to have dialogues with the people who elected them. The AM with PM programme will see the prime minister visit offices and organisation including those in the private sector.
The programme is intended to let people in organisations, government or private, corporations and other institutions know about the government’s intention. The government will benefit more from this. Through this, they will feel the pulse of those governed.
It is an opportunity both for the government and those representing organisations or companies to share and discuss ideas, question the government’s decisions that will help in inclusive decision-making. How much the government will take from the meetings is up to them, but honest discussions and feedback is what we need.
It is a good platform for many who cannot reach the government or policy makers, even if they have the grandest ideas.
The idea of keeping it simple and informal will encourage people to speak and provide feedback on government’s policies and make the government rethink if they are in the midst of making policies.
From experience, we know that people only speak, among themselves, after the meeting. The fear of being singled out for speaking the truth or providing feedback keeps many from talking. What we lack is a good culture of feedback.
However, such initiatives are not entirely new. The challenge is keeping the momentum. We had in the past similar initiatives that didn’t last long or had no results.
There is also a huge group of people who cannot be covered by such programmes. They would want to know what transpired at such meetings. For instance, what happened at the session with the judiciary? The programme hopefully will lead to some outcome and not remain only as an initiative.
There are lot of questions the people have for the government. We are already in the last quarter of the first fiscal year of the 12th Plan. There is not much activity happening. Without budget rolling, there are reports of development activities not starting or slashed.
With government as the major source of work, a lot of other sectors are feeling the whirlpool effect of government not having budget. Some businesses have come to a halt and are wondering when the first lot of the 12th Plan budget would be released.
Time is not on our side. Everybody is waiting for a “cheque handing over” ceremony.