The Department of Development for the North Eastern Region (DoNER) approached C-NES to put together a workshop on ways of restructuring the mechanism of governance and policy planning in the North East region at both the macro and micro levels and to thrash out a future path for the North Eastern Council (NEC) in the coming years.
A colloquium on ‘Planning and Perspectives for the North Eastern Region’ was organized jointly by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES), New Delhi and the Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi (RGVN), Guwahati on 6th and 7th January 2004 at the Indian Institute of Bank Management, Guwahati. The participants were representatives from government, various institutions, non-governmental organizations and individual experts.
The colloquium was structured in a way that it covers the socio economical problems and how to improve on them and also improve the governance for the region.
At the colloquium it was emerged was that most projects in the North East had their own parameters for monitoring and evaluation. It was suggested that there has to be some uniformity for the above, especially with regard to the projects that are being carried out by the NEC. Participants voiced the view that a strong Monitoring and Evaluation department be opened in the North East Council. Monitoring and evaluation could be done by the help of indicators, which could be derived by usage of the log frame. While some of the outcomes of projects were physically verifiable, the social audit component was also equally important. It was suggested by the House that respected NGOs be involved in monitoring and evaluation ? in such a manner NEC could also ensure the participation of people, accountability and transparency. Monitoring through partnerships with independent, respected non-governmental organizations should be encouraged.
Few of the recommendations of Colloquium on Planning and Perspectives for the NER for Review Committee for Revitalization of NEC in NEC Policy Processes, Partnerships, participative planning, review and monitoring, Banking and Human Resources were:
- NEC lacks and must develop a 2020 vision statement and build its planning perspectives around this
- It must focus on strategic and perspective planning, prioritization of policy issues, facilitation of private initiatives and strong research
- President’s nominees to include representatives from the non-government sector, with at least one woman representative
- Roles must be clarified with regard to NEC, DoNER and Planning Commission; there should be no duplication
- NEC needs professional technical and managerial expertise to handle core issues of management while independent think-tanks and non-government groups may be included as ‘brains trust’ members and review sector in addition to existing political representation
- It needs to look at areas beyond dam building, roads, bridges etc.
- Community/village-level involvement at planning of projects
- Structure a multi-sectoral, multi-state reviewing mechanism at macro and micro-levels which includes professionals, state government representatives, local government members (panchayat/district council/traditional systems) and accepted non-government groups: structuring a sector-by-sector approach to different issues. This could be the NEC Review and Impact Evaluation Unit.
- Develop partnerships with private sector, NG-groups, special training programs and Donor agencies
- Outsource specific studies and research
- Banking structures and approaches to be more innovation/innovator-friendly and prepared to take risks
- Funding ceiling should be structured to meet the needs of the entrepreneurs and region
- Strengthen institutions of micro-finance and self-help groups
- Human resources skills must be energized and trained to build up preparedness in changing environment
- Develop a youth policy specific to different parts of the region — learning and sharing within the NE to build up a common understanding on issues of equity, accountability and creative resource management. This can include exposure and exchange programme
- To strengthen opportunities for change and employment, especially for the young, through sports and recreation policies