Im­ple­ment with cau­tion

The idea of bring­ing able peo­ple from the aca­demic or cor­po­rate sec­tors into suit­able po­si­tions in gov­ern­ment is ba­si­cally sound, pro­vided it is done with sin­cer­ity of pur­pose and trans­parency

Gfiles - - COVER STORY -

WHEN we write about gov­er­nance in the coun­try, we should try to be ab­so­lutely hon­est, and re­alise at the same time that it is a priv­i­lege and have to treat it with re­spect. Opin­ions based on per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences with peo­ple and agencies should not cloud our vi­sion. I know that to be bru­tally ob­jec­tive is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, but try we must. Un­for­tu­nately, most of our civil ser­vants are not made that way. I have seen very se­nior col­leagues re­it­er­at­ing their per­sonal views on ev­ery is­sue with­out ap­pre­ci­at­ing emerg­ing facts. For ex­am­ple, a num­ber of re­tired of­fi­cers are ex­tremely un­com­fort­able with Naren­dra Modi. They refuse to see any­thing good or pro­gres­sive in Modi’s poli­cies.

Why are bureaucrats scared of the im­pend­ing en­try of ex­perts from out­side the gov­ern­ment sys­tem as Joint Sec­re­taries in the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment? Are they afraid that their in­com­pe­tency will be ex­posed when they start work­ing along­side? Have they for­got­ten that they were chosen by a rig­or­ous merit based re­cruit­ment sys­tem where many of the present day tech­ni­cal and man­age­rial ex­perts had also com­peted? Why should the sys­tem op­er­ate in favour of re­tain­ing and pro­mot­ing in­ca­pable ca­reer civil ser­vants de­spite the ready avail­abil­ity of sub­ject mat­ter spe­cial­ists in the open mar­ket? There are ex­am­ples of spe­cial­ists do­ing ex­cel­lent work in gov­ern­ment. Con­versely, there are equal, if not more, num­ber of ex­am­ples of bureaucrats per­form­ing out­stand­ing work in the pri­vate sec­tor. Sadly, anec­do­tal logic can es­tab­lish any­thing you want. In a Par­lia­men­tary democ­racy, politi­cians must pre­side over pol­i­cy­mak­ing as they are sup­posed to know what peo­ple want. But min­is­ters need ad­vice—wise, im­par­tial, ob­jec­tive, hon­est and fear­less ad­vice. In demo­crat­i­cally gov­erned coun­tries like In­dia, that comes largely from the per­ma­nent bu­reau­cracy. How­ever, in min­istries like Fi­nance, etc., en­gag­ing tech­ni­cal ex­perts as ad­vi­sors is an ac­cepted prac­tice.

Those in favour of the move of lat­eral en­try at higher bu­reau­cratic pol­icy mak­ing lev­els in gov­ern­ment be­lieve that since the gen­er­al­ist-ad­min­is­tra­tor model of gov­er­nance has failed to achieve the ob­jec­tives of good gov­er­nance, it is ex­pe­di­ent to bring domain ex­perts in var­i­ous ar­eas to for­mu­late in­no­va­tive pol­icy in­stru­ments of devel­op­ment

IT is learnt that the Prime Min­is­ter's Of­fice has re­cently asked the Depart­ment of Per­son­nel and Train­ing to put up a pro­posal on the in­duc­tion of out­siders at the Deputy Sec­re­tary and Joint Sec­re­tary level, in min­istries deal­ing with econ­omy and in­fra­struc­ture. The move came in the light of a Depart­ment of Per­son­nel re­port in­di­cat­ing a se­ri­ous short­fall in the num­ber of of­fi­cers at the mid­dle­m­an­age­ment level. It may be the first time for at­tempt­ing lat­eral en­trance in an or­gan­ised

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