Government Dysfunction?

Government Dysfunction?

Mehbooba Mufti has beseeched people to give peace a chance and allow her government to function smoothly for ensuring solution to all issues confronting the state. “The government needs time to execute its agenda of development and empowerment, and that people have expectations from her government and she would not let them down,” Mehbooba added. It is not really clear what Mehbooba actually means. At one level, her plea to the people reflects the fact that government is not working well. This amounts to an admission of government dysfunction.  At another level, Mehbooba’s plea and request for time suggests that she thinks that government and governance can improve in Kashmir and that either’s improvement in terms of efficiency and effectiveness is the antidote to problems and issues that the people of Kashmir are facing. While the admission of government dysfunction is spot on; the assessment that there will be improvement in government and governance with the passage of time is plain wrong.  The reasons for this are prosaic and humdrum: first, government or state dysfunction especially in Kashmir division of Jammu and Kashmir pertains to the deep inertia that defines the state here. Second, the state, instead of the classical Weberian formulation and definition, is a patronage machine whose focus is on welfare of a certain segment of the population and not service delivery. Third, there are accountability and transparency issues involved. But last and perhaps more importantly, state sits atop an estranged society which is in conflict within and without. All these factors, in combination with the peculiar nature of Kashmir, ensure that there really will be no development in Kashmir until comprehensive peace can descend upon it. Kashmir can be peaceful only when the conflict in and over the entity is resolved. This means that all roads to development and peace in Kashmir lead to politics.  The nature of this politics must be of a kind which sates the aspirations of people and all stakeholders. It is then that development and its concomitant, empowerment, will descend upon the peoples constituting Kashmir’s firmament.  In essence then, the causality and the causal processes run from peace (defined as absence of conflict) to development and not development to peace. It is this fact that powers that be must realize and understand. Any other alternative is a non starter and an exercise in vanity that amounts to an optical illusion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.