October 22, 2017

Looking into the Progress of Social Affairs in One-Year Period

Upper left, a child peeks in on Pa’O women attending a class as part of the literacy campaign. Photo: MNA

Introduction
This article is based on the statistics sent by data collection board, but it mainly depended upon my own findings and hypothesis, hence the need to assume that critics and conclusions included in the article should be regarded to be the assumption of the writer.
Only if there has been progress in the sector of social affairs, has a country or a race achieved development. The progress of a country or a race can be assessed by using the progress of its social affairs as a criterion. Progress in peace and stability, economic progress and political progress can drive the progress of social affairs to its success, but it cannot make an effect directly. Provided that law and order restoration & rule of law develop, social affairs can develop. Yet, whenever the former develops, the latter cannot be said for sure to become developed. As regards politics and economy, it is in the similar way. It is worse as there are not any standardized criteria for assessing the progress of politics, economy and social affairs. It will be a big question, as to who can say that there has gained the above-said progress, if any kinds of progress have emerged.

Economy at the very first step
Undeniably, social existence is really connected with economy. But, social existence of the public (social life) and economy of the country are not in the same way all the time. As regards this, the necessary explanation will be made in the following paragraph. Because, we have to answer the question as to whether the public will be full of basic needs if the country’s economy becomes better, for now. For answering the question, we must reassess by which criterion the economy of a country can be measured. Generally, it is commonly used the Gross Domestic Production. If and when our currency is devalued or commodity prices inflate or there includes fabricated statistics or the country depends upon foreign loans as the government spending rises unnecessarily, the GDP cannot represent in the right way. At that time, only the adjustment of PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) can become the considerably acceptable GDP, especially Per Capita GDP.
There is an easy way to assess the progress of the social affairs of the public, that is, looking into the spending connected with social affairs. It is ways of looking into the spending as to how much budget had been used in the sector of the social affairs or how many percentages of the budget had been used in the sector of social affairs. We had ever had years in which 2.2% of the budget had been allotted for education, 1.2% for health and 0.8% for social welfare, rescue and resettlement. For a country enlisted in the least developed countries, 4.2% of total spending for the 3 major sources of the social sector points out at the only answer that social development of the country will continue to drop.
It is regretful to criticize the progress of the social affairs during the previous one-year period of the new government. A financial year starts at 1st April every year. The budget of a new financial year has to be compiled in the old year. Under the procedure, it can be said that the old regime draws a budget for the new government. But, due to extraordinary concessions, the new government has the right to revise the budget whereas as for the departments that earn little but spend too much, it is not easy to carry out development projects according to their desires, for social sector in spending their Lion’s Share.
If we want to study the progress of the social sector during the previous one-year period of the new government, we are to examine how much the budget had been allotted in the sectors of social affairs in the financial year 2016-2017. With the increasingly rising commodity prices, demands for the commodity of the grass-root people are decreasing. We must take this into consideration.
Politics at the middle step
In the country with unstable politics or in the country with stable-but- conditionally restrained-politics, the people may be full of their needs in every way but they will partially live in anxiety or in dissatisfaction. Such a person under the said situation cannot be named the citizen with high status in social affairs.
A good political system gives a good administrative one. Its upper reach is the Constitution. If there is a hole of toxin, there will be no good places along the river. Had equality and enjoying human rights been broken in some way or other, there can arise impacts in the social class of taking people’s finance, that is, government servicemen and citizens residing in the country. Such impacts are apt to lead to social conflicts.
As regards the politics, we should be well convinced that there are two parts in politics—the affair of the country and the party politics. We have seen that such leaders are rare in the history of Myanmar until now since the time of gaining Independence. In the eras when the de facto governments took offices, there were cases that could not distinguish personal benefits and national benefits. Therefore, there emerged breakdown of social affairs in Myanmar, which was greatly respected not only by neighboring countries but also by the whole world.
It reached only one year period that the new government which was appointed by the people took office. Yet, limitation of budget and restriction of authority caused no results of social development as expected.
It is not an easy task to heal the destructed conditions that had been ruined for 50 years, just in one year. Any creator cannot afford to do so. Political deterioration can be cured in two years, with economic deterioration cured in next two years. It will take 6 years to cure educational and health defects. But we need to fight for social deterioration to the extent of changing people’s mindsets. It is a long journey we must move on to drive out our evil minds, ill spirits and the blankety-blank behaviours as said by Bogyoke Aung San.

Social Affairs at the last step
The State guarantees not only for the security, provision of food, shelter & clothing of its citizens, but also for the stability of social existences such as education & health. It is undeniable that the new government has been making its concerted effort of its social sector during the previous one-year-period, unlike in the past 70 years. We can see these obviously, just by glancing at the performances of the ministries and respective regions and states. Some places were found to fail to have achieved remarkable progress due to the budget limitation.
Natural disaster can harm social lives of the people. Under the current situation, there were many fire outbreaks in Myanmar. The fire services department short of fire-brigade members and fire-extinguishing equipments, unsafe system of wiring electric wires carrying electricity, illegal storage of fuel oil, expanded construction of dwelling houses on public roads so that fire-engines cannot go into paths, cause fire to break out more than normal. We can take lesson from the incident which saved the whole town from the inferno, thanks to the invention of motor-cycle engine as an emergency fire extinguisher.
Early warning system is of great importance in the time of natural disasters of floods and storms. Just after outbreaks, rescue and resettlement works have to be done. Had disasters been great, the government cannot manage these works alone. Then, it is necessary for people to take part in these campaigns. Just for now, those who contribute voluntary labor for rescue works were seen to have been supervised by emergency management groups comprising of government servicemen in respective regions and states.
International rescue teams and internal Samaritan groups are more capable of performing than the government, for example in time of the Nargis storm. Contributions of well-wishers, people and philanthropist teams from home & abroad are enormous. Afterward, such people and institutions played an important role in following disasters, acquisition of water in villages, having an access to learning and setting up economic lives.
In Australia, there was a Civilian Army formed in the nationwide scale.  It is not an armed force. Well-wishing civilians are recruited and trained for rescue works. When the government happens to need helps in time of natural disasters, civilian army forces are gathered by broadcasting instructions. Premier of the province leads the rescue teams, helping victims in disaster-stricken areas by land, air and water. This is a matter of for the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement to consider.
In my opinion, central control center is urgently needed for these rescue works. From the establishment of a website to opening facebook, arrangements are needed to have been done broadly. Relations must have been made with all the philanthropic teams from home and abroad. If emergency cases happen, news and information are required to have been made known to people in accord with changing times. Needs for transport and news on route clearance must have been made known to rescue teams as well as the whole populace. Sometimes, rescue teams are apt to assemble at some places only with no one seen in many places. Had the government arranged for these giving aids and subsidies can be more effective. It is not necessary to say that the government elected by the people will avoid such mischievous deeds as forbidding rescue teams from going to disastrous places, confiscating things donated by well-wishers, misappropriation of donations, dishonest ways of selling things donated from foreign donors and making fabricated information that donations were done by the government.
Our country can be likened to a runner who is going to start for the race on the run-way for the progress of social affairs. It is not an easy work for the one-year-old government left with a legacy of complicated problems such as political and economic problems, empty vault with national finance in and un-peaceful state and violation of rule of law, to keep pace with social development of fellow citizens from neighboring countries. For these reasons, I hereby will make suggestions instead of blaming and disclose the truth instead of praising.

Ariel view of the completed Panzin Creek Bridge connecting Yathedaung and Buthidaung Townships. Photo: MNA

A  Country of Grandeur
If a country has good governance and every citizen has rights of equality, it will be the one of grandeur. Only if there exist peace and rule of law in the country will social sufferings alleviate. Provided that modernized industrial country can be built up, the economy will develop and campaigns for social affairs from education to literature and culture can be expanded. Our nation will become the one of great grandeur only if every individual can enjoy respectable human rights.
What are respectable human rights? It can be said we can make an initiative to an access to respectable human rights if we come to possess rights to express freely, honestly and without anxiety. There are only a few nations which can guarantee all 30 rights included in the declaration of human rights promulgated by the United Nations. Hence, there is a scarcity of countries with full percent respect as regards human rights. However, in the era of the well-wishing government appointed by the people, we can move on our destination step by step.
Without social development, dignity of all subjects residing in the country drops. If so, dignity of the country does similarly. So, it needs to amend things which will make the citizens’ dignity plunge.
During one-year period when the new government took office, it has been a good performance to have enacted the elderly-related law to provide special rights and protections for elderly individuals. The main objective of Myanmar News and Media Council Law & Communications Law enacted in the reign of the previous regime but sharply applied only in the present government’s rule is to protect people’s rights. It is the responsibility of the people’s government to protect people by controlling spreads of fabricated news as every individual is within the reach of communication websites. Yet, it will take time to amend restrictions by regulations in some laws.
TV broadcastings and the public-owned newspapers under the ministry of information have been found to have changed remarkably. It reaches the public in the most effective way, assumed to increase visions and outlooks for the freedom and human rights and simultaneously to reduce feelings of disappointment and worries. And I assume that there should be an organization that will adjust the broadcasts of private media. If scrutiny and suggestion concerning from placement of advertisements to ways to dress and speak can be made, it will be like leading to the cultural destination of the country.
It must be put on record of the concerted effort of the archaeology department under the ministry of religious affairs and culture for the work of finding out traditional culture. It has been learnt that 289 collapsed stupas and pagodas due to earthquake had been renovated by the people under the leadership of the ministry, with 224 out of them finished.
In maintaining ancient cultural heritages, it is vital for not losing national heritage, but if tourism industry is developed based on the area the country’s economy will develop, as will that of the area. For that, dubious ways of businessmen in the region must be strictly prohibited. Construction of hotels and golf clubs in the midst of pagodas can harm the national image.
In assessing the progress of social affairs of a country, the commonly used index is Human Development Index (HDI). Though not being a perfect index, it is mostly used, as it is measured depending upon life expectancy, education, literacy and per capita income.
According to HDI collected in (March 2017), Norway 0.949, Australia 0.939, Singapore 0.925, America 0. 92 and Japan 0.903 were enlisted in the top list whereas our country still stood at the lowest level, gaining 0.4.
Inequality adjusted HDI is the index of social affairs acquired by adjusting the favorable advantages of each country such as differences of buying capacity of currency between countries. On account of calculation in such a way, Norway went to 0.898 HDI, standing first, with America to 0.796, China 0.727, Thailand rising up over 0.7. Myanmar rose up 0.536, still standing 3rd of the 10 least HDI & at the bottom of ASEAN countries.
The situation is the position we unavoidably must hold. To rise up to a higher level, in other word, to become a dignified one, the people and philanthropist groups from home and abroad must help the government to develop the social life of citizens, systematically. In the reign of the new government it has been learnt that health, education and communication for rural development were developed, according to the statistics received. We can see how much effort the ministries and regional governments had exerted. There is a principle that a government need not be praised if it performs the responsibility which is worth doing, but it must be blamed critically unless it does not perform its duty it should carry out. Under the above-said principle, the new government overcame the barrier of being criticized. In the phase of culture, there can be ways and means to revive Myanmar Puppet, Saing Waing (Myanmar Orchestra Group), Anyeit, Kwetseit and Zat before its demise, with no need to spend too much money like spending for the Myanmar’s national performing arts competition.

Individual existence of the citizens
Individual existence of the citizens is related to the social life of their family and political life. Skyrocketing commodity prices, weakness in giving service to public health, wrong concept of education and exercising bias on jurisdiction of the law can harm the social life of the citizens.
Hluttaw (Parliament) promulgates the law that will help for the national progress. Strict management is needed to emerge rules and regulations as soon as possible, so that authority can come into effect.
According to previous experiences, we have found out that law exists only on paper as do cases of Hluttaw committees.
International relation committee, committee for labour affairs and etc., have been formed, hence the need to show extraordinary performances in the sphere of social affairs.
Just the development of the urban area cannot bring about the social development. I firmly believe that Hluttaw must accomplish the task of developing hilly regions and flat land equally.

Conclusion
Usually, social conclusion follows economic and political conclusions. I want our readers to notice that this conclusion is not the one assessed on social viewpoint alone.
In the countries that rule by exercising respectable constitutions, what are the most important things are 3 “Chote” & one “Oat”. 3 Chotes are Union Attorney General, Union Chief Justice and Union Auditor General whereas one Oat is Chairman of the Central Bank. Provided that their skill, sharpness, dignity and good-will are at the high level, politics, economy and social affairs of the country will be high.
Besides IHDI, EQ (Emotional Quotient) is assumed to be easier to assess. Happiness and Healthiness of citizens are categorized under the system. In fact, it is not easy as expected. EQ does not represent rightfully for a social class or a country, though it may be easy for a person.
If we really want social progress, the government has an actual authority and power.
I want to assert that we will be able to stand tall only if peacocks scream. For disclosing the word, “peacock” I do not want you to think that I mean NLD. In the Yadanarbon Era,

Time to return home,
as the daylight becomes gloom.
Peacocks are screaming,
Send a person to pick me up
If peacocks scream
Peacocks will fight against
our yellow-robed lad.

It was once very popular. Here peacock means a coin with the symbol of a peacock. It is a poem composed about young monks persuaded by paying money as an incentive.
Only if the economy of the country makes progress, will more budget be able to be used for social welfare activities. So, it is necessary for peacocks to scream, that is, the country will be more powerful only if it is wealthy.
Although the civilian government was left with a legacy of empty finance vaults it has been trying its best for the development of social progress with its meagre amount of finance.
Yet, it is still necessary to cultivate the culture of welcoming forces of philanthropist groups warmly. I hope it will be able to perform emergency rescue works, plus education, health and survival of displaced nationals in the long term plan.
The journey to proceed is still far away. As it is, we have our feet to use as vehicles. I want to say that Cetana and our confidence can bring about enthusiasm and zeal.

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