Sabal Bidhayak: A series of Orientation Programmes
for Assam MLAs

organized by

Assam Legislative Assembly

Programme Design & Coordination by

Centre for Development & Peace Studies

Sixth phase: 10 january, 2017

During the first Session of the sixth phase (From left: Dr NG Mahanta, Dr ANS Ahmed, Dr LR Bishnoi, and Wasbir Hussain )
A brief Report of the Sixth Phase of the Programme

The sixth and final phase of the Sabal Bidhayak programme for the Assam Lagislative Assembly Members was held successfully on 10 January 2017. The orientation programme was initiated by the Speaker of the Assembly Sri Ranjeet Kumar Dass while the it was designed and coordinated by the Guwahati-based think-tank, Centre for Development and Peace Studies. A total of nineteen interactive lecture sessions by experts in different fields were conducted during the four-month-long programme. Around thirty speakers from within and outside Assam participated in the interactive sessions.


Session- I
Chair: Dr Abu Nasar Saied Ahmed

  About the Chair: Dr Abu Nasar Saied Ahmed is a Sociologist and former Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. He was awarded Fullbright Post doctoral Fellowship in 1981 and has been a Visiting Fellow/Professor in four research institutions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Dr Ahmed has participated and presented papers in dozens of national and international seminars, has written and edited a number of books, a former Professor of Political Science in Dibrugarh University, Assam, a former member of regional selection committee of Fullbright fellowship, former expert member of UGC, former member of Indian Council of Social Science Research New Delhi and former Director of Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Change and Development, Guwahati.

Insurgency in Northeast India and Trans-National Linkages

  Speaker: Dr. N.G. Mahanta
Head, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University

About the Speaker: Prof Nani Gopal Mahanta is currently the head of the department of Political Science at Gauhati University and Director, Centre for South and South East Asia Studies. Formerly he was the Coordinator, Peace and Conflict Studies, a UGC Innovative project from 2004-2009 at the Gauhati University.

His research interest includes issues of Peace and Conflict Resolution, Human Development and Security, Insurgency, Ethnicity and Identity Politics. He was selected as the Rotary World Peace Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley from 2002-2004. As a World Peace fellow, he travelled to various parts of the world including Europe and South Asia for his internship and empirical work. Prof Mahanta was a visiting fellow to International Peace Research Institute (PRIO), Norway, Oslo. He is also the president of North East India Political Science Association (NEIPSA) for the last four years.


Addressing the participants, that also included several civil society representatives, Dr Nani Gopal Mahanta said that the government should come up with a peace policy at three levels—macro, micro and district level. The macro level, he said, should involve the Central Government, the micro level should be initiated by the state government and the district level peace policy should deal with the fragmented militant groups. He emphasised the need to involve the civil society and take their views during the peace negotiations and eventual signing of peace agreements.

MLAs participating during a session

Insurgency in Assam: Present Situation & New Dimensions


Speaker: Dr. L.R.Bishnoi, IPS
ADGP (BTAD & Railways), Assam


About the Speaker: A 1991 batch IPS officer of the Assam-Meghalaya cadre, Dr LR Bishnoi is currently ADGP (Railway cum BTAD). He has held several important postings like IGP (CWR), IGP, BTAD, DIG (Eastern range) etc. He started his career with the Assam Police as SDPO, Udalguri.


In his address, Dr LR Bishnoi, Additional Director General of Police (BTAD and Railways) said insurgency has come down in Assam but pointed out that militant groups from the State are active on the Myanmar China border making it necessary for the security forces to be on guard. He said an effective counter-insurgency strategy could include, apart from consistent joint operations, use of advanced technological gadgets, breaking support network of rebel groups, joint action with neighbouring states, strengthening infrastructure and coming up with rewards and appreciations for security officers.

  Session II

Right to Information & Legislators


Speaker: Mr. Himangshu Sekhar Das
Chief Information Commissioner, Assam


About the Speaker: A 1982 batch IAS officer, Mr Himangshu Sekhar Das is the Chief Information Commissioner of Assam. An economist by training, he was Commissioner, Planning and Development Department, Assam, Commissioner, Home and Political Department, and Commissioner, Principal Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary, Finance Department, Government of Assam.

By heading the State Finance Department in different capacities for 12 years since 2002, he has earned the distinction of being the longest serving State Finance Secretary in the country. Due to his expertise in financial management, he was inducted as members of several important Committees in the Planning Commission and Finance Ministry of Government of India as well as in the Reserve Bank of India.

Mr Das was awarded the Governor of Assam’s “Outstanding Service Gold Medal” in 1991. Besides publishing articles on matters of Economics, Finance and internal security, Mr Das has translated three books from Hindi and English to Assamese.

Chief Information Commissioner Himangshu Shekhar Das addressing the participants

Addressing the gathering, Mr Himangshu Shekhar Das said the use of RTI as a tool to seek information in the state is very low and that it is only about one-tenth of the national average. He also disclosed that of the total RTI applications filed, around 80 per cent are moved by 10 to 15 individuals. Mr Das added that very few RTI applications are filed by intellectuals, media personnel and women. He called upon the Assam MLAs to use RTI in a big way to seek information from government departments to serve the people better.


Assam, Naturenomics, Conservation and Role of Legislators


Speaker: Mr Ranjit Borthakur
Former Economic Advisor to the Assam Government & Chairman, Globally Managed Services

  About the Speaker: Mr. Ranjit Barthakur is the Chairman of Globally Managed Services India (GMS) and is the Chief Architect of the thought process of developing the theme of Naturenomics and co-founder of several initiatives, promoting agriculture and Nature First (focusing on restoring the balance between nature through land, energy, waste, water, air and, carbon). He has 35 years of experience in managing and leading companies across a wide range of multi-sectoral industries.

Mr Barthakur serves as an advisor to several Government and Private Enterprises in pursuit of healthcare services, environmental issues, tourism and social transformation. He's also the Founding Trustee and Founder of the Balipara Foundation.

Mr Ranjit Barthakur, business leader and founder of Balipara Foundation, addressing the MLAs

Making a presentation on “Assam, Naturenomics, Conservation and Role of Legislators”, Mr Ranjit Barthakur said Assam urgently needs to formulate a development plan by merging nature and economics since the State’s biggest assets are its natural resources. Mr Barthakur said that since six million people in Assam are directly involved in the State’s tea industry, Assam should have a Tea Ministry. He also cautioned that the tea industry in Assam could be adversely impacted by climate change in the next two decades.   

A view of the participants
  Valedictory Session
Principal Secretary of the Assam Assembly, Mr Mrigendra Kumar Deka making his concluding remarks while Mr Wasbir Hussain and Mr Samudra Gupta Kashyap look on

Wrapping up the programme, CDPS Executive Director Mr Wasbir Hussain thanked the legislators for their enthusiastic participation and engagement during discussions with the resource persons. He said some of the best practices suggested by various designated speakers could be replicated by the MLAs in the respective constituencies. Principal Secretary of the Assam Assembly, Mr Mrigendra Kumar Deka, making his concluding remarks, said the programme was a success and must have benefitted the legislators. He thanked CDPS for designing and executing the programme in collaboration with the Assam Assembly.

Participants and resource persons at the end of the programme
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