Shillong, March 14: Cabinet Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh has reviewed the functioning of her departments – health & agriculture – and asserted the need for regular evaluation of their performances.
“I would like to see that the department evaluate themselves regularly,” Lyngdoh told reporters.
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Stating that there would be a hundred-day plan in both the departments, she said, “I will work with the departments and we will constantly find a way out to be in touch with the head of the state because if that intervention which is lacking is not attended to then I think we will have the sense of defeat and we have to get pass this feeling of hopelessness in our service to the public. I will try my best to be there as well to make sure that I am able to do that.”
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Asserting that governance is not all about those in government, the East Shillong legislator said, “I think we need to give every MLA in the state of Meghalaya equal opportunity to present their versions of what our weaknesses, our challenges and our strengths are.”
“I would like to see that we work together as a team because Meghalaya will only shine if every individual elected to the House is given that opportunity to express how best we can turn around our system,” she added.
Referring to the health and the agriculture sector as two very big departments, the lone woman cabinet minister said, “I am also happy to know that we have now segregated a few missions whether it is with Agriculture or with the health department. Now we need to make sure that the missions we have embarked on actually materialize and start yielding the necessary results.”
“So I hope that we are able to do justice to all of these. I have also seen that technological interventions are a major component both in the health as well as in the agriculture department. They have tried to segregate each of these departments. They have given me the ideas of where are the areas of funding and which are the areas that need to be further improved,” she added.
Giving a quick review of the health department, Lyngdoh said that as a minister she has noticed that if there is anything that needs to work in the state, it has to be a participatory attempt by the government agencies as well as private players and the people and the entire unique system that we have in the state.
“I have made one major observation in the health department. The first thing is that finally we are now at that stage where we believe if health has to be understood we have to first involve grassroot participation. That was good thing I saw where we now are going to be involving the people in implementation of various health schemes in the state of Meghalaya,” she said while asserting that “We will never be able to address the entire problems of infant mortality or maternal mortality rate if we do not have people participating in it.”
She further emphasized the need to evaluate all health schemes being provided to the people and to also be understood by the recipients of such schemes.
“In the health department, we have seen that systems need to be installed. Now we are looking at the last mile approach which is again very good,” she added.
Also stating that the agriculture department has its own set of challenges, Lyngdoh said, “We now need to make sure that marketing is at centre stage in agriculture. That having been understood, we need to take it forward.”
“We now understand that organic farming is to a larger extent practiced in the state of Meghalaya. I have been briefed that we have some challenges there as well because our farmers are not used to this kind of an approach.”
She also commented on the cooperative movements and self-help groups in the agriculture department and said these are all people motivated oriented programmes.
She further stressed the need to make sure that auditing of all the funds in the two departments should be done by the people for the people.
Lyngdoh also stated that bureaucracy in the state has realized that people are important because it was quite distant five years ago.
“This is again going to be good for us and the state of Meghalaya and I am going to ensure that this good model is actually carried out in letter and spirit. This is one thing that I have seen in both the agriculture as well as in the health department,” she underscored.
Speaking about the upcoming Assembly’s budget session which will commence from March 20, Lyngdoh said, “I will again look at all of this once we pass the first Assembly. Budgeting is something which I am exposed to both in the health as well as in the agriculture department. I will not be able to comment much on whether or not the budgeting that we are going to receive will be sufficient to overcome all of these challenges that we have seen in the various departments.
Of course, we are depending to a large extent on central funding. So like every other department in the state of Meghalaya central funding is the dominating source of funds so I will have to look at all of this to see how best we can go ahead and make sure that we start performing both in the health as well as in the agriculture department.”