Assam Must Discard its Socialist Policies

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In the mid-1990s I was Secretary to the Government of Assam in the Education Department, with (the late) Ashok Saikia as my boss. We lived in the same officers campus in Khanapara, traveled across Assam together (on occasion) in the same car, had innumerable discussions regarding Assam's education system, and deplored the hijacking of education by corrupt politicians and the Directorates of Education.

Ashok Saikia was also kept busy also by an endless series of court cases in High Court filed against the government by those who had lost their jobs after having been found to have got their job through corruption. Corrupt ministers and corrupt Inspectors of Schools were busy appointing (on payment of a bribe) 40 school teachers for every 20 vacancies. That meant that (at a minimum) our job was to remove the 20 extra teachers, and to suspend and punish such Inspectors of Schools.

To avoid contamination of recruitment and transfers of teachers by politicians, Ashok Saikia moved the Education Department outside the main secretariat. That allowed for closer supervision of the super-corrupt Directors of Education. Not that it did any good. The system is entirely corrupted, from top to bottom. Saikia and I were fighting a losing battle in every way.

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I find the inability of Indians to understand ROOT CAUSES of their problems amazing. "Educated" Indians will virtually wage a war on me if I say we must entirely privatise school education. They want government schools, but will NEVER send their own children to government schools. The socialist government school system DOES NOT WORK. It never worked. It is a disaster.

The socialist system has TOTALLY HOLLOWED OUT INDIA, and, of course, Assam.

The massive problems of Assam are not related to some mad dash by foreign Muslims to invade Assam, but by the TOTAL CORRUPTION of its system of administration.

Not long ago, a school teacher from Assam visited us in Melbourne. She had to falsely tell education department officials that she was going on a holiday within India, and had to pay a bribe of a few thousand rupees just to get her leave approved. Had she mentioned that she was going to travel to Australia (for her once-in-a-lifetime foreign holiday), the bribe demanded would have been far stiffer.

This is the socialist CONGRESS government at work.

Gogoi's government is totally corrupt. It cannot but be otherwise. But, by the way, the AGP was not better! I've worked with both these governments.

SIXTY years of chronic corruption and bad policies have DESTROYED the moral and economic fibre of Assam.

To point fingers at others is extreme folly. Point a finger at yourself, Assam. Point a finger at your fervour for socialist policies, fervour for corruption.

Without corruption (virtually) nothing moves in Assam. Under such circumstances there's little point blaming Muslims from Bangladesh.

I find articles of this type (this one written by Swapan Dasgupta) obnoxious. In this Dasgupta writes:

"If Kokrajhar falls and the Bodo Territorial Council becomes history, the march into Lower Assam and even the Barak Valley will be relatively effortless."

This is spurious and unrelated to the fundamental issue: the EXTREME poverty of Assam, which arises from its hopelessly misguided policies over the past sixty years. This poverty leads to adverse consequences for everyone, at every level. And it ensures that the state remains weak and impotent to prevent any illegal immigration.

If ever I get to go back to India and contest elections, I'll probably do so from Assam. Among all states of India I've spent the most years of my life in Assam. I'm also married "into" Assam. And I speak Assamese almost as fluently as any Assamese. Far more fluently than my parents' language: Panjabi.

It is shameful that people become concerned about Assam only about religious issues, not about its ECONOMIC POLICY and GOVERNANCE.

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I have been desperately searching for people from Assam to join FTI. Assam needs liberty more than perhaps any other part of India. There is so much fear, so much under-performance. We have finally got our first FTI member from Assam. But we need 100s more. If you are reading this and you are from Assam, please read BFN, and please apply to join FTI.

Assam can't wait any longer to burn all its socialist policies on a bonfire.

Else Assam's days with India could well be numbered. As will perhaps the days of many other parts of India.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this writing are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of League of India, its Editorial Board or the business and socio-political interests that they might represent.

This article originally appeared at the author's blog here

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