Meghalaya Chief Minister pointed out having the right mindset is crucial to achieve success

Shillong, August 04: The ‘Meghalaya’s Next Leaders Workshop – Building a Capable Learning State’ was launched by the State Government at the State Convention Center on the 4th of August 2022.

The event is being organized by the Office of Development Commissioner under Meghalaya’s State Capability Enhancement Project (SCEP). The event was co-developed by the Development Monitoring Evaluation Office (DMEO) at NITI Aayog with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The 2 day event is focused on ‘Evaluation and Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA)’, overcoming barriers to problem solving, and developing system level, complexity-informed locally sensitive evaluation.

In the 1st Cohort, key policy makers, government leaders, researchers, international leading evaluators and PDIA scholars came together to explore how the state can leverage its resources through exchange of knowledge and experiences from both failures & successes to build a Capable Learning State.

The  Chief Minister, Shri. Conrad K. Sangma at the inaugural session  said that having the right mindset is crucial to achieve success. “If you do not have the correct mindset and thought process, no matter what capability you have in life it won’t make a difference”, he said.

Talking at length on the importance of teamwork, the Chief Minister said that departments should not work in silos but must converge and work together to achieve a larger goal. “We need to recognise the capabilities in our teammates to build an efficient team and allow them to work”, he added.

He noted that good governance requires thrust across several key verticals, including infrastructure, social sector, administrative, and socio economic. Within each of these, cross-department collaboration is critical.

“There are a lot of times in the whole aspect of Governance that I have tried to ensure the same team would be working on these verticals together. It is important that departments and people converge and combine efforts to achieve the larger vision and goal,” he added.

Shri. D.P. Wahlang, Chief Secretary, also stressed on the need to focus on implementation. He mentioned that while our policies and programmes look good on paper, it is during implementation that most ideas fail. As such, state capability is primarily about getting implementation right.

Professor Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Scientist at World Bank and the co-creator of the Public Driven Iterative Approach (PDIA) concept, noted that “World’s population is growing and the aspirations of the people are growing. The state capability of most of the governments around the world are struggling due to their declining systems.

However, more and more people are entering these systems and depending on them. This leads to a higher expectation from these declining systems and failure could lead to disappointment and violence. Thus, there is a need for building a Capable Learning State.”

The Development Commissioner of Government of Meghalaya, Shri. Sampath Kumar, noted that The State Capability Enhancement Project (SCEP) has been developed to help address the complex developmental challenges encountered by state officials. The genesis of SCEP was during a visit made by the 15th Finance Commission to Meghalaya.

During the meetings, one of the major takeaways was that a major portion of the state budget is spent on engaging human resources. And, as such, there is a strong imperative to build upon the capability of the human resources to deliver better development outcomes for the citizens of the state.

Investments in building intrinsic motivation among the officials, frontline workers and community institutions have already shown great dividends. As an example, Mr. Kumar noted that, “Meghalaya ranked 34th in the full immunization program in the country, but in the span of 8 months, Meghalaya reached the rank of 2nd in the country.

This was possible as all stakeholders involved in the mission to improve immunization worked in unison and with a sense of purpose.” The Principal Secretary stressed on the importance of collaboration to address the different developmental challenges of the state.

To build and improve the learning capabilities of each department and work in a systematic way, while also incubating a sense of leadership and ownership of the challenges.

Shri. Shailendra Dwivedi, Joint Secretary, Development Monitoring and Evaluation Office (DMEO), NITI Aayog, stated that this is the beginning of a new phase for Meghalaya as this is an opportunity for the state to be the testing bed of an ‘India of Tomorrow’. The state capability movement in Meghalaya can become an important source of learning for the other states.

Over the course of the day, the selected group of next leaders were exposed to multiple concepts and tools such as technical versus adaptive challenges, problem deconstruction, positive deviance, iterations, learning, supportive management and evaluation.

The leaders engaged in discussions where they reflected on their current practices and challenges, and explored how the various tools can be adapted and applied in their day-to-day work. Day 2 of the event will continue with a focus on adaptive evaluation methods, as well as further reflections from participants on ways of strengthening state capability.


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