Why did TRLM not build a robust team of resource persons from within the State within these long years of its existence?

Jayanta Debnath

Tripurainfo was the first news organization in the State to have had unearthed the massive operational irregularities in Tripura Rural Livelihood Mission (TRLM), injudicious financial spending and how a select coterie of few contractual staff and few people from outside the State were working in TRLM against the interest of the socio-economic development of Tripura. 

As soon as the report was published by Tripurainfo in July 2019, it caught the attention of the public, the poor and under-served people of Tripura and, most importantly, the current Government led by a team of proactive and concerned Ministers and Senior Level Bureaucrats. The massive irregularities area legacy of inept and unrealistic approach of the past Government that was going on ever since TRLM came into existence as a registered Society. Tripurainfo carried out the report solely in the interest of the State economy and with the aim of protecting the interest of the poor people of the State. 

As a consequence of that report Government was quick enough to undertake several initiatives towards reforming TRLM. Tripurainfo has been closely watching the developments and the past activities of TRLM and it will continue to do so in future too, not only with TRLM but also several other departments where inefficiency and lack of Governance is casing loss to State economy.

Tripurainfo in this second report related to TRLM and its internal functioning would like to bring to attention some of the activities which raise further serious questions, despite the attempts of the Government in reforming the mission activities. 

•The influx of NRPs coming to Tripura in the name of "Trainings" has reduced drastically in the past months. This proves that all these years huge amount of money meant to be spent within the State could have been stopped long back and services of people from within the State could have been utilized more, with need based and strategic support from NRLM in developing the capacity of the State team, as it happens with the livelihood mission in many other States. Question is: Who are the persons who were all these years indulging in activities which were blatantly against the interest of the State economy and its people and has any action being taken?

•In 2019, a number of state resource persons or Retainer Consultants (RCs) were recruited many of whom had direct connection with the State. Many of them were born and brought up in the State and are familiar with its socio-cultural flavour. Some of them have huge work experience in their respective domains, highly qualified and have national and even international level exposure working with various other State Governments, large organizations and even international organizations. Some of them were even qualified medical doctor or degrees from reputed institutions. They were eager to serve the State where they were born through their national level exposure, which in many cases were far above then anyone in the current team of TRLM or those NRPs. Question is: How many of those RCs during entire 2019 were involved in the field level important activities of TRLM and for how many days were their services utilized? 

•It was observed that during the fag end of last year, a number of positions were advertised in TRLM to recruit a number of resource persons at block or district level. This is highly appreciable since it offers employment opportunities to local educated youths and also will help in a big way to carry out the important activities at ground level. Question is: Why so late? Why did TRLM not build a robust team of such resource persons from within the State within these long years of its existence? What were the reasons and if credible reasons are lacking to substantiate the question, then the question is who were the persons responsible for this serious lapse which is directly against the socio-economic development aspect of the State?

It was also observed that few positions were advertised during the same time for which were actually some of the RCs were already recruited and their services were hardly utilized during the entire year. If their services of RCs in those domains were not utilized enough, this indicates that the need for such domain experts does not arise. Questions are: Why then advertisement seeking experts in such positions again carried out if the need for utilizing the services of some of the RCs did not arise. Every recruitment process involves huge cost and time of TRLM and who will take the responsibility of this wasteful activities in the form of recruiting people and not utilizing their services?

The robustness and dynamism of any Mission based organization like TRLM increases when the organization inducts new talents who can bring in new ideas and new work approaches. Perhaps that is the reason that ‘Contractual Staff’ are employed offering flexibility of inducting fresh talents from time to time. Since several inefficient and serious lapses have come to light, it is an indicator that the current The Mission office in Agartala perhaps needs new people in several important "contractual positions". Based on performance based annual evaluation before the start of every financial year like it happens with every professional organizations, while no contractual staff can be removed whose performance has been excellent and contributed towards achieving the vision and mission of TRLM, it is also necessary that any non performing staff should be provided further training, counselling and if nothing works, that staff should be ultimately shown the door, all in the ultimate interest of the Mission. Question is: How many contractual staff in Mission Head Office of TRLM are working for how many years now? What is the performance evaluation process based on which their contracts are renewed every year? What is the document based evidence of such performance evaluation having taken place in the past years?

These are some of the serious aspects that should be immediately addressed by the Government which is trying its best under limited resources to bring socio-economic growth in the State and for which TRLM is an important platform. Tripurainfo promises its visitors to pursue this and all such issues not only in TRLM but also in any other departments, all with the aim of exposed the rampant corruptions and show the path to the Government in its initiatives to introduce good governance and increase efficiency.

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