Indian bureaucracy is in dire need of radical changes through timely, frequent and continuous ‘surgical strikes’ to meet the aspirations of people of New India and ensure good and effective governance, says a new book.
The ailments of bureaucracy are contagious and need to be easily addressed in a mission-mode, the book notes, specifying a strong perception in the minds of people about Indian bureaucracy that it is by nature corrupt, besides being snobbish and procrastinating.
Many such revelations and possible solutions are highlighted in the recently-released book “Decoding Indian Babudom”, a first-of-its-kind narrative on Indian bureaucracy, by senior journalist Ashwini Shrivastava.
The author mentions ailments of the country’s bureaucratic system from the common man’s point of view and also suggests “15 Sutras” to achieve good and effective governance in the country that can bring in investment by boosting businessmen’s confidence in the country’s administration.
“There are myths and misnomers associated with the country’s bureaucracy as governance in a vast and vivid country like India cannot be easily understood by an outsider for different reasons. The book tries to unravel common realistic misconceptions attached with bureaucracy and suggests ways to improve the functioning of government employees and the governance,” Shrivastava told IANS.
He points out possible causes of alleged organised corruption in some property registry offices, RTOs, civic authorities among other departments, red tape, ineffectiveness of administration in ensuring ease of accessing governance and existence of unprofessional approach from a large number of ‘public servants’ towards the public, in the book.
Indicating people’s perpetual saga of trust deficit in the bureaucrats and their non-cooperation and inefficiency, the author lists lack of innovation, professionalism and digitization, red tapism, priority to output and not outcome, air-conditioned governance, centralization of power, incompetence of employees and corruption as ailments that have hit Indian Babudom, its modus operandi and modus vivendi very hard.
“Red tapism and corruption are interconnected and quite frustrating for citizens and businessmen. The red-tape is real and it exists in some form or the other in all government departments. It is one of the reasons behind the reputation/notoriety of bureaucracy today,” the book decodes, suggesting apt solutions to end red tapism that chokes the Indian bureaucracy and frustrates people and the business community.”
He also weighs the efficacy of the country’s administrative system, recruitment agencies and anti-corruption watchdog like Lokpal among others from the common man’s perspective.
Shrivastava raises a pertinent question about the perceived inefficiency of bureaucracy in managing the exodus of migrants during the national lockdown in 2020. “Who does not remember the picture of a woman pulling a briefcase, with all the family’s belongings, while walking on the road, using cloth as a string and her son sleeping on it. It was heart rending for all of us. Nobody can forget the unfortunate death of 16 labourers, all of whom were run over by a goods train in Aurangabad, Maharashtra,” he underlines in the book brought out by Vitasta Publishing.
The journalist-cum-author emphasizes that good governance is a basic right of the citizens of any country. It is the hallmark of a civilized society. “Governance is meant to be hassle free, easily accessible and more importantly corruption free,” adds the author, who has been writing on bureaucracy and governance related matters for over a decade.
He recommends “15 Sutras” for good and efficacious governance in terms of deputation of armed forces personnel in civil ministries/departments, training of lower and mid-level workforce, encouraging innovations in governance, clean or ‘Swachh’ administration, nomination-based appointment of domain experts, ‘model’ government office in villages, strict and prompt punishment to corrupt, effective handling of public grievances, proper implementation of minimum tenure policy, out of turn promotion to performers and mandatory display of the citizens’ charter.
“Constant efforts must be made to ensure good governance. People’s needs must be assessed and re-assessed time and again to ensure prompt delivery of services and ease of governance that match their aspirations,” he advocates, proposing an efficient and corruption-free administration that will also help India earn the confidence of the local and global business community.
“People living in rural and urban areas have all the right to experience world class governance. This is something our bureaucrats are capable of delivering,” the Delhi-based author concluded on a sanguine note.
(Sanjiv Kumar is a Master in History from the University of Delhi and demystifies books, movies and music in his leisure.)