MSPB should be transformed into State Knowledge Commission: Sangma

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Shillong, Aug 25 (UNI) Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma today mooted the idea of transforming the Meghalaya State Planning Board (MSPB) into a State Knowledge Commission to fulfill its intended mandate.

''Various states in India have not lagged far behind in giving shape to this idea, an idea unheard of even 20 years ago. The question before us today is, can Meghalaya lag far behind?'' Mr Sangma asked, addressing the members of the MSPB.

The former Lok Sabha Speaker, who quit national politics, is now Chairman of the MSPB.

Mr Sangma, who had termed MSPB as a ''rehabilitation centre of defeated Legislators'', said the foremost challenge for the Board was to revitalise the existing institutions in the state as capacity builders.

''The Planning Board seeks to harness skills and proficiency to prepare a blueprint that will re-shape the social, economic, political and administrative contours of Meghalaya,'' he said.

In order to enhance the Board's capacity to provide a policy directive to the Meghalaya government, Mr Sangma said the legal framework under which the Board exists should be strengthened with policy guidelines to enable the Board to work more efficiently.

''If a modern state over-relies on bureaucrats and political representatives without domain expertise and professionalism for discharging its functions, its performance can be dismally low,'' Mr Sangma said.

Urging the members of the Board on the need of conducting research and development in key sectors, Mr Sangma said, ''Meghalaya's key malaise has been the implementation in-toto of Central government-sponsored schemes in accordance with Central guidelines.

Instead, he said that these guidelines should act only as a broad framework for the implementation of the schemes.

''Research and development must be undertaken to understand the local environment (such as topography, soil structure, mineral content, climatic conditions, local institutions, cost escalations) to ensure that Centrally sponsored schemes are accommodative of local conditions,'' Mr Sangma said.

Pointing out that the present structure of Ministries in Meghalaya needed to be introspected upon, the MSPB Chairman said the bifurcation and trifurcation of Ministries and departments had taken place to accommodate political interests in jumbo-sized Ministries.

Mr Sangma said the structure of these Ministries was never reorganised to facilitate better co-ordination among the departments and put in place a speedy delivery mechanism.

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