The Constitution of India, which is a sacred document guiding the nation, has resolved to secure to all the citizens justice, liberty, equality and to promote fraternity in India. To achieve these noble objectives, the constitution has also provided the necessary framework. One of the important pillar of the framework is the bureaucracy, which is expected to implement the various laws, policies and programmes made by the Parliament. Since the apparatus hasn’t been able to achieve the ideals of the Constitution over the years, there is a need to examine why and how the bureaucratic machinery has failed the nation.
Some of the important reasons for the failure are:
i) Lack and Loss of morale,
ii) Rampant Corruption at all levels, and
iii) Lack of commitment.
Realising the importance of this, the country has made several attempts to bring about administrative reforms from time to time. However, there is still a huge scope for bringing about the administrative reforms, and the silver lining is the measures initiated by the new NDA Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.
Also, In India we have a federal system of government, i.e., we have a government in the central and there is a government at the state level. It is essential that the development plans has to be implemented with the participation and cooperation between the central and state governments. Thus, while formulating the policies, the views of all the state governments and its representatives in the parliament should be taken into consideration. The promise of a people-oriented government can be fulfilled only when the centre goes down to the states.
As the GDP has been sub 5.0 for the past two years, the onus is now on the government and the administration to help the economic growth of India. During the UPA II regime, there was a state of policy paralysis in the country. It is therefore time now that we bring about certain administrative reforms in the country to help the country’s growth. It is worthwhile to see how other countries have coped up with similar issue For example, in Vietnam, the fast paced economic development and impressive growth has been attributed to the successfully implemented public policies and internationally accepted pubic governance practices that its government has actively embarked right since the start of the public administration reform.
We must understand that sustained growth is not possible without action in the sectors like education, health, water and energy. The mere formulation of policies is not sufficient. The implementation of the policies is what is more important. We have several schemes which aim to improve the sectors, like the Mid-Day Meals Scheme, National Rural Health Mission, National Rural Drinking Water Mission, Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) etc. There have been several challenges in the implementation of the government schemes in the rural areas. During the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005), more than 50% of the beneficiaries were not from the most needy group. Labour employed was not always from the local population. Payment made was much lesser than the prescribed wage. There was difference in wages paid to men and women. Therefore, we need to ensure that there is a proper infrastructure and processes and procedures in place to ensure the successful implementation of the policies.
Any institution to meet its objectives has three parts, namely, the human resource, infrastructure available and the processes and procedures for implementing the objectives. Though we have a reasonably good human resource for the implementation of the policies, we are lacking in the infrastructure and preparing the correct processes and procedures required to implement the schemes.
In order to increase the human resource in the administrative machinery, it is essential to provide the necessary infrastructure and the job should be made more attractive. The salary and the perks also should be made more attractive in order to encourage more people to join the bureaucracy.
I would like to suggest that the policies must be made very simple and unambiguous so that the administrative machinery doesn’t have questions in their minds about the implementation.
The bureaucracy should be made more transparent by using systems like e- governance for processes of government. E-governance can lead to centralized data which can be used for improving audit and analysis. Unbiased sampling procedures can be applied for audit purposes. Integration of data across applications can provide improved intelligence. E-governance can make decisions traceable. As the possibility of exposure of wrong doing gets enhanced, the fear of consequent embarrassment can be a deterrent to corrupt practices.
The bureaucracy should be made more accountable. The Right to Information (RTI) is one such Act which was passed by the Indian Parliament, whose objective is to ensure that all the citizens are able to seek information which is under the control of any public authority. Other measures also have to be taken in order to make the bureaucracy accountable.
All the government policies are implemented through the bureaucratic machinery and it is essential that the officials are empowered and encouraged to play an instrumental role in the implementation of the policies and to bring about some innovative measures to implement them, so that the reach of the policies is more wide spread and the common man is able to make the best use of the policy.
I would also like to suggest that we re-look at Article 311 of the Indian Constitution which gives the bureaucrats the security of job and the salary and perks irrespective of their performance. I feel that the bureaucracy should follow the Corporate Style- “Perform or perish”, in order to ensure that the bureaucrats become more effective and efficient. The salary and perks given to the bureaucrat should go hand-in-hand with his/her performance. Also, the bureaucrats whose performance is good should be rewarded, in order to encourage the bureaucrats to perform better.
About the Author
Samar G Hosur is a B.E. Graduate from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore. He is interested in public policy and international relations and hopes to make a difference in the lives of people and the society. He is an outdoor person with interests like trekking, rappelling, river rafting, etc. He is currently pursuing his internship with Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.