Bureaucratic Reforms are Crucial and the Need of the Hour

Image for BureaucracyThere could be no two opinions about the need for the political leadership and the bureaucracy in a functioning democracy like India, to work in sync for the optimum implementation of the government’s programs. Unless the two wings of the democratic system work in tandem, implementation of the programs would be fraught with the prospects of the watering down of the effect of the result when it trickles down to the common man who forms the fulcrum of the system of governance. A flawed officialdom, with uncooperative civil servants in its ranks, is the biggest handicap that any government that aspires to translate into action the lofty principles of the ruling party for the betterment of the masses it is mandated to serve could be saddled with. A recalcitrant civil service is far worse than a vindictive political Opposition, which goes at the ruling party hammer and tongs at every available opportunity, with or without provocation.

While the ruling party could add, in the course of taking on a vindictive Opposition, strength to its political muscles and ideological armour by devising ingenious counter measures, a flawed administration would turn out to be its very undoing by failing or refusing to carry across to the public the government’s message of development in real terms. And yet, it is the party in power that would be upbraided and penalized by the voters at the next round of hustings for failing to fulfill its mandate, leaving the faceless bureaucracy out of the pale of accountability. The secret of successful governance is, therefore, for the political leadership to keep an alert and watchful eye on the bureaucracy for ensuring the vindication of its raison d’être.

No government worth its name could afford to be far too heavily dependent on the officialdom for the effective dissemination of its policies and programs in absolute terms among the voters; nor could it completely divest or distance itself from the motions that the administration meanders through. Aside from the inept and corrupt officials who owe their selection and induction into pivotal positions in the system and survival to an erstwhile political dispensation, a top heavy system of administration with reluctant bureaucrats at the higher levels, with ideological proclivity and leanings of loyalty towards a party in the Opposition, is fraught with the risk of the frustrated elements working against the political interests of the prevailing dispensation. It is, therefore, important that the inept and corrupt elements in the civil services are identified and rendered harmless by a government immediately on its induction into power. It is for this purpose and in the overall interests of the nation that timely reforms in the bureaucracy assume relevance and importance.

Integrity and Loyalty

Officials who constitute the bureaucratic machinery are not expected to have political leanings or strong ideological proclivities. In fact, they are supposed to be apolitical and concerned only with the implementation of the government’s policies and programs. However, being the products of high portals of learning and academic milieu that are usually a hotbed of conflicting political ideologies and diverse economic theories and being endowed with bright minds given to free thinking, they frequently find themselves in a quandary of having to merely execute the programs and schemes conceived by their political masters. Having been pitch-forked to the pinnacles of the prestigious administrative service, their rise at a fairly young age to the much-coveted positions of power makes them feel quite at liberty to weigh the merits and demerits of a governmental program albeit within the confines of their own mind. Hence, unless totally convinced about the desirability, viability and feasibility of the program, they would find it extremely difficult to throw themselves headlong into its implementation.

A half-hearted or ham-handed attempt to implement the programs or schemes is a surefire way to make them turn into fiascos. Nevertheless, the certain prospects of career progression, compounded by the proximity of the political leadership and its dependence on the officialdom, which is the solid bedrock of the system of governance, has the corrupting influence of infusing the public servants with a numbing sense of complacency with regard to the their secure positions and a false sense of unbridled power. Being not always a party to the process of decision-making despite being the sword-wielding arm of the executive authority for the implementation of schemes that they might personally not approve of in toto, civil servants often find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.

Notwithstanding the unenviable position they find themselves in, unless the bureaucrats are alive all the time to the fact that they are a mere cog in the wheel of the administrative machinery and that the power they wield flows from the service that they get to render to the nation and its populace, they become victims of arrogance and corruption, which bring them perilously close to the shifting sands of the political quagmire. Out of self-interest, an indifferent or corrupt government official tends to drift away from loyalty to the nation and may become close to a powerful politician who is interested in the pelf and not in the policies. Hence, it is important that at the very initial level of their induction into the administrative service, the candidates are sensitized about their loyalty having to lie with the nation and the Constitution and nowhere else. Their performance should be result-oriented, and the end result of the service they render should be for the welfare of the public and the interests of the nation.

Extraneous considerations such as promotion of the interests of the self-serving politicians or the narrow, selfish goals of the corporate behemoths who underwrite the corrupt politicians should not be allowed to cloud their perception or taint their performance. In addition to putting in place an effective mechanism to ensure selection of the right candidates who do not owe allegiance to political parties, it must also be ensured that the entrants to the civil service do not become votaries of alien ideologies like religious fundamentalism and loyalty to regional or international forces that are inimical to the territorial integrity or cultural ethos of India. It is equally important to monitor their objectivity in the carrying out of their functions throughout the duration of their career. To this end, the system in place should be fortified with reform measures.

Once inducted into the services and deployed in positions of power, administrators should dedicate themselves to the service of the nation. They have no choice but to toe the line of the government so long as its programs do not militate against the Constitution, the law of the land or prescribed financial norms and propriety. The more a bureaucrat is motivated by the bonafides of a program and convinced about its viability and usefulness for the targeted section of the society, the more successful would be the scope for implementation of the program. This does not call for the civil servant to go out of the way to identify himself with the political ideology of the government. A total application of his concerted efforts to making a success of the programs is, however, absolutely necessary.

It would, therefore, be appropriate in this scenario to consider “party-line bureaucracy” for a workable solution while deciding on the appointments as well as the transfers and postings of senior officers. This calls for the appointment of civil servants not only on the basis of their professional competence but also on the basis of their affinity, enthusiasm and ideological orientation for the economic policies and political principles of the party in power. This measure would not only ensure that candidates with right credentials and qualities are posted at the right place and at the right time, but they work at optimum efficiency and propitious productivity as well on account of their total commitment to their work.

Flab and Deadwood

A peevish or petulant civil servant whose loyalty lies with the forces that are working for the debunking of the government’s credibility or a timeserver who believes in merely enjoying the pecuniary benefits, perks and privileges that his position entails constitutes the flab of the system or deadwood that has to be weeded out for the overall good of the system. Security of a job, no matter how high, should not be at the cost of its incumbent having to be carried along at enormous costs to the nation.

Image for Bureaucracy_2Responsible Bureaucracy

When a welfare scheme announced by a government is promptly taken up for implementation and relentlessly pursued till its completion, it is not only the end users but also the political party in power that conceived and carried out the scheme that ends up as the beneficiaries. Should the implementation of the scheme, however, turn out to be a fiasco either on account of administrative bottlenecks or the lackadaisical attitude or indifferent approach on the part of the administrators, much disenchantment follows, resulting in the political disposition drawing flak. While politics is universally derided as a major breeding ground for corruption and politicians, cutting across the party spectrum, heckled as unscrupulous wheeler-dealers, government officials stay firmly ensconced in a relatively safe reproach-free zone of officialdom.

Individually, government officials are seldom held responsible, either by the administrative machinery or the media, for their lackluster performance, let alone for procrastination or peevish disposition about the government’s ambitious programs. Such a lopsided state of affairs hardly augurs well for the equation between the government and the civil services to remain on an even keel. Suffice it to say that for the sake of maintaining a harmonious working relation between the two wings of governance, the current state of affairs wherein the administration is hardly held responsible for the failure of the government’s programs and schemes should be reviewed and suitable reform measures introduced. This would make the officialdom accountable for its actions and non-actions and also answerable to the government in a more explicit manner than at present.

Whistle Blowers

Equally important to making public servants responsible for their actions and answerable to the people’s representatives in power is to insulate them from the whims of self-serving politicians who might try to implicate them in dubious deals, murky scams and insidious scandals of financial impropriety. Unless bureaucrats feel totally safe about their positions in service, they may hardly be expected to have the cojones to resist the pressure tactics of corrupt politicians, let alone expose their corrupt deals. It is, therefore, absolutely necessary to have a system of protection of the whistle-blowers. The absence of such a system and an appropriate mechanism to monitor it would likely result in the withering away of honesty in the most spirited civil servant of unimpeachable honesty and stoutest integrity. Suspension, frequent transfers and maligning of the image and personal reputation are some of the risks that the honest and upright government officials dread at the hands of vindictive politicians in the event of their choosing to spill the beans and unearth corruption in high places.

Measures to Boost Performance 

Once an appropriate mechanism is put in place by the government to create a fear-free atmosphere for the administrators to operate, it would have already traversed half the way to creating the right conditions for the enhancement of the performance of the officials. The process would be complete when the government creates a framework wherein the public servants are called upon to think, plan and execute projects a la CEOs in the private sector companies. Furthermore, officials who are credited with outstanding results in their assignments should be generously rewarded with promotions, plum postings, etc. Needless to say, encouragement of honest and enterprising officers with such rewards is as vital as weeding out the deadwood to make a viable system of bureaucracy

Priority Areas for Reform Measures

The system in vogue at present to assess the performance of the government officials is for the Performance Management Division of the Cabinet Secretariat to gauge the work output by the use of Result Framework Documents (RFD). This system pegs the weightage to processing goals at over 80% and that of the outcome goals at less than 20%. Consequently, there is hardly any pressure on the administrators to be result-oriented as their performance is not assessed solely by the results generated. This is not a very happy situation for the system to differentiate between the achievers and the deadwood. The situation could be ameliorated by improving upon the current practice. Appropriate RFDs, having some Measurable Time-bound Real Outcomes (Metros), could be designed and used to boost the performance of the government officials and make them more accountable to the system.

The officials should also be sufficiently empowered to be able to achieve the targets. Induction of well-qualified and motivated candidates in high places of hierarchy, ensuring that they do not become victims of shifting goalposts of loyalty, safeguarding the interests of the honest and upright officers who not only refuse to kowtow to corrupt politicians but also have the cojones to expose corruption in high places, rewarding achievers and performers, weeding out of the deadwood as well as periodic and prompt monitoring of the efficacy of the system are some of the priority areas for the introduction of administrative reforms. This will make the bureaucracy a lean and mean fighting machine.

The earlier the reform measures are initiated and seen through, the healthier the condition of the administration. Otherwise, it become more and more of an end of the road for the hopes of honest and upright officers and a stagnant pool of corruption and mediocrity on the part of inept and indifferent officers under the watch of self-serving politicians. This would be to the disadvantage and dismay of the nation, which would end up being the ultimate loser in spite of the ingenious and lofty schemes of the political leadership.Image for Bureaucracy_3

102 thoughts on “Bureaucratic Reforms are Crucial and the Need of the Hour

  1. Anand Sharma

    Very true. Bureaucrats are no more than puppets in the hands of political men. When they have so much of pressure from the top how can you expect efficiency from them. Reforms are needed urgently.

    Reply
  2. Rishabh kapoor

    All India services as mentioned in the Constitution is not working in the manner as thought by the framers of Constitution. Transfers, suspensions and promotion delays are a common scenario.

    Reply
  3. Babita Singh

    The issue is that our officials cannot act on their own in even a small matter. They have to take permission from government, which is why India has not developed in the way it could have.

    Reply
  4. Parul Mehta

    In UP you will hear of a minister who even abuses and physically tortures senior bureaucrats. Once in hands of states, officials have no independece. So they should always come under central government.

    Reply
  5. Karan chobey

    Political inclination can not be expected from bureaucrats. If they will be inclined towards one party and its ideology then they will become indifferent once government changes.

    Reply
  6. Lalit Bansal

    Private companies rewards their top management by perks and rewards however there is no such recognition in public sector. If all government employees are rewarded and punished for their work improvement will be seen.

    Reply
  7. Nandita Sehgal

    Bureaucracy still enjoys so much of protection under constitution. They are never blamed for wrong actions only governments lose their majority. This is a concept of no name no shame.

    Reply
  8. Sandeep Sohan

    If any government official works honestly then he/ she is removed from the position. See what happened to Mr Khemka even in BJP government. No government, BJP or Congress wants to five free hand to officials.

    Reply
  9. Chirag mohan

    Tell me how many people in India know about Indian bureaucracy? They have no recognition except some IPS officers. So they have no motivation to perform good for the public.

    Reply
  10. Vijay Chauhan

    Just because these people fear from any allegations in future, they are reluctant in taking any bold decisions. Senior officers and policy makers should be immune from all such accusations.

    Reply
  11. Rahul Singla

    Great blog you have got here.. it is difficult to find high quality writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you. Take care..

    Reply
  12. Nauhwarkrishna krishna

    Hello there, you have done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.

    Reply
  13. Manjeet kaur

    Thank you, I have just been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I have found out till now.

    Reply
  14. Rahul Ray

    Hello my friend. I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all important infos. I would like to peer extra posts like this .

    Reply
  15. Harsh amrath

    I visit daily a few web sites and sites to read articles or reviews, however this blog provides feature based articles.

    Reply
  16. Peenak chatterjee

    The structure of the composition is good,buttry to make sure the word order in your sentences is correct.

    Reply
  17. Kautilya pandey

    I am highly impressed with the think tank that you possess. I wonder how 1 man can have so much of knowledge

    Reply
  18. Lokesh Saluja

    Greetings. Very useful advice in this particular post. it is the little changes which will make the most important changes.Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  19. Sukhdev Singh

    I just had to drop you a line to let you know that John and I think that the website is BRILLIANT……………………… Well done.

    Reply
  20. Vikas Bharati

    The site looks absolutely fantastic. Well done to all involved. Very professional & the navigation is great too. Cheers.

    Reply
  21. Saif Mobhani

    it is hard to come by well-informed people on this subject, but you seem like you know what You are talking about. Thanks

    Reply
  22. Tejas Thakker

    Hello, its my first time to commenting any post. But I could not stop myself from commenting on reading through such a sensible piece of writing.

    Reply
  23. Ravi kalra

    I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet viewers, its really really pleasant article on building up new weblog.

    Reply
  24. Varun Sundaram

    Can I just say what a relief to discover someone that actually understands what they are talking about over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren’t more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

    Reply
  25. Pratik Khurana

    Your write-up is really amazing and it must reach to most of the people all over the world.

    Reply
  26. Kavita tyagi

    Congratulations Dr Gupta in the setting up of your attractive, informative and very professional website. Well done.

    Reply
  27. Mriganka Medhi

    Hi, all the time i used to check weblog posts here in the early hours in the break of day, because i enjoy to learn more and more.

    Reply
  28. Amit Goyal

    There is definately a great deal to know about this subject. I love all the points you have made.

    Reply
  29. Urvi Srivastava

    Excellent, what a webpage it is. This website provides useful information to us, keep it up.

    Reply
  30. Samrat Chokshi

    Hi there to every one, it is in fact a fastidious for me to go to see this website, it includes important Information.

    Reply
  31. Geeta Bhatiya

    I recently had a good fortune of reading your article it is really well written with updated information. I will be returning here often now.

    Reply
  32. Nil Varanasi

    Hi there everyone, it is my first go to see at this site, and piece of writing is genuinely fruitful in favor of me, keep up posting these types of content.

    Reply
  33. Manveet Singh

    Quality articles or reviews is the key to attract the users to go to see the web site, that is what this web page is providing.

    Reply
  34. Dhruv Mahajan

    This excellent website really has all the info I wanted concerning this subject and did not know who to ask.

    Reply
  35. Saleem sayied

    I wish to say that this article is amazing, nice written and come with approximately all important infos. I would like to see more posts like this .

    Reply
  36. Mrinal saha

    I started to read your article and it caught me to the extent that I could not put it down. Amazing piece.

    Reply
  37. Harsha Bharadwaj

    Had a look through the site, it looks great and will be a big help in social and economic issues.

    Reply
  38. Javed khan

    it is an amazing piece of writing designed for all the online visitors. they will get benefit from it I am sure.

    Reply
  39. Mahesh mishra

    Great article. Keep writing such kind of information on your site. Im really impressed by your blog.

    Reply
  40. Eeshan Pandey

    Hi, I do believe this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

    Reply
  41. Deependra Singh Nahar

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back very soon. I want to encourage you continue your great writing, have a nice evening!

    Reply
  42. Vaishnavi rajagopalan

    I wish to state my complements to the hard work you have done to incorporate so much of detail about every information.

    Reply
  43. Vikas chandra

    I am regular visitor, how are you everybody. This post posted at this web page is really pleasant.

    Reply
  44. Aasish Thomas

    If some one wishes to be updated with most recent technologies therefore he must be pay a quick visit this site and be up to date all the time.

    Reply
  45. Sanket Sohane

    Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue about this piece of writing at this place at this weblog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

    Reply
  46. Manbir singh

    It is hard to find experienced people for this subject, but you seem like you know what you are talking about.

    Reply
  47. Hemachandran Panicker

    Hello. I simply want to give you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your site for more soon.

    Reply
  48. Namitha garg

    Good day. I just would like to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you have right here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon.

    Reply
  49. Nilesh srinivasan

    Woah. ? am reallly enjoying t?e template ?f thi? website. ?t is simple, y?t effective. ? lot of times it is tough to ?et that perfect balance bet?e?n usability ?nd appearance. ? must s?y you have ?one a amazing job ?ith th?s. In addition, t?e blog loads extremely fast f?r me on Chrome. Outstanding Blog.

    Reply
  50. aashish sachaan

    Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous too and You are just too magnificent.

    Reply
  51. Govind MITTAL

    It was so awesome of you to take out time and express your thoughts on a topic so different.

    Reply
  52. Prashannjit Solanki

    Way cool. Some very valid points. I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the site is also very good.

    Reply
  53. Abhinav Bhatt

    I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read.. I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book marked to check out new stuff you post

    Reply
  54. Piyush Bhageria

    I want to to thank you for this fantastic read.. I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.

    Reply
  55. Junaid shaikh

    Thanks for that, the site looks fantastic and I am sure will be a great service to both locals and visitors.

    Reply
  56. Shaikh saleem

    Very soon this web page will be famous among all blogging and site-building users, due to it is pleasant articles

    Reply
  57. Pradeep bansal

    Thanks for the marvelous posting. I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you are a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and will come back very soon. I want to encourage that you continue your great work,have a nice day.

    Reply
  58. Karthik Vadiya

    Hello there. This blog post could not be written much better. Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate. He constantly kept talking about this. I will send this information to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing.

    Reply
  59. Nitin srinivasan

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>